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A coming of age: the implications of precision guided
Calhoun: The NPS Institutional Archive
Theses and Dissertations
Thesis and Dissertation Collection
1993-06
A coming of age: the implications of precision guided
munitions for air power.
Conroy, Timothy M.
Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School
http://hdl.handle.net/10945/24128
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A COMING OF AGE: THE IMPLICATIONS OF PRECISION GUIDED MUNITIONS FOR AIR POWER
PERSONAL AUTHORS
I.
Conroy,
iimotny Michael
)y, Timothy
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Air Power, Military Technical Revolution, Precision Guided Munitions
ABSTRACT (Continue on reverse if necessary and identify by Mock number)
The thesis argues that air power now dominates modern warfare. The overwhelming
victory of the Gulf War stands as a
technology has caught up with nearly a century of air power theory, the early
prophets of air power were basically correct. The air war in the Gulf was revolutionary in the sense that very few bombs were
required to achieve an enormous amount of very focused, precise destruction. The existence of precision guided munitions
allow single aircraft to accomplish what, in the past, would have taken literally thousands of aircraft to accomplish or could
not have been accomplished at all. The argument is based on a brief history of the employment of air power in previous
symbol of
the maturity of air
conflicts.
A comparison
implications of the air
is
war
power. In
then
effect,
made
in the
with the employment of air power in the Gulf War. In the context of modern war, the
Gulf have profound implications for every warfare specialty. However, this thesis only
considers the implications of precision guided munitions for naval air power.
.
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A COMING OF AGE:
The Implications
of Precision
for Air
Guided Munitions
Power
by
Timothy M. Conroy
Lieutenant, United States
Navy
B.A., University of California, Berkeley
Submitted
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
MASTER OF ARTS
IN
NATIONAL SECURITY
AFFAIRS
from the
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL
June 1993
ABSTRACT
The
thesis
argues that air power
victory of the Gulf
War
now dominates modern
power were
that very
The
basically correct.
few bombs were required
The existence
precise destruction.
accomplish what,
in
the
past,
air
to
war
air
in the
of precision
air
power
with the employment of air power
the implications of the air
specialty.
However
munitions for naval
this
air
war
in the
in
in the
In effect,
theory, the early prophets of
Gulf was revolutionary
amount
in the
literally
at all.
thousands of
The argument
previous conflicts.
Gulf War.
A
sense
of very focused,
guided munitions allows single
would have taken
comparison of the employment of
power
achieve an enormous
accomplish or could not have been accomplished
made
The overwhelming
stands as a symbol of the maturity of air power.
technology has caught up with nearly a century of
air
warfare.
is
aircraft to
aircraft
based on a
comparison
In the context of
to
is
then
modern war,
Gulf have profound implications for every warfare
thesis only considers the implications of precision
power.
in
guided
/
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I.
INTRODUCTION
1
A.
THESIS
2
B.
DEFINITIONS
4
C.
II.
1
.
Precision Guided Munitions
4
2
.
Strategic Conflict
5
3
.
Center of Gravity
6
SUMMARY
6
A LOOK AT THE PAST
8
A.
AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
B.
WORLD WAR II
C.
THE STRATEGIC AIR CAMPAIGN AGAINST JAPAN
D.
WORLD WAR II WEAPON SYSTEMS
2
E.
THE INTRODUCTION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
23
F.
THE KOREAN WAR
25
G.
THE SECOND USE OF AIR POWER IN THE NUCLEAR AGE
27
H.
11
A.
...
18
1.
Rolling Thunder
28
2.
Linebacker
32
SUMMARY
34
A SYMBOL OF MATURITY
III.
9
36
THE REAL AND SYMBOLIC VICTORY
IV
3 6
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B.
THE PRELUDE TO OFFENSIVE ACTION
3 8
C.
THE AIR WAR IN THE GULF
4
D.
SUMMARY
43
THE IMPACT ON NAVAL AIR POWER
46
A.
THREAT SCENARIOS
5
B.
CARRIER BASED STRIKE AIRCRAFT
53
C.
CRUISE MISSILES
66
D.
DESERT STORM CRUISE MISSILE LESSONS LEARNED
E.
TECHNOLOGICAL
F.
DRIVERS
AND
.
.
68
TECHNOLOGICAL
ADVANCES
75
RECOMMENDATIONS
8
INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST
83
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
overwhelming victory
The
in
the
War
Gulf
stands
as
symbol of the maturity of Air Power; it has come of age.
a
The
air war in the Gulf was revolutionary in the sense that very
few bombs were required to achieve an enormous amount of very
precise
precision
guided
weapons allowed single aircraft to accomplish what,
in the
past,
destruction.
The
existence
of
would have taken literally thousands
aircraft
of
accomplish or could not have been accomplished at all.
performance
of
precision
conflict
suggests
advances
have
guided
munitions
following thesis:
the
in
the
solved the problem of
largely
the
to
The
recent
technological
accuracy that
prevented bombing alone from playing the decisive role in the
past.
Achieving precision accuracy and much improved target
acquisition suggests
that
Air
Power
now dominates much of
modern warfare.
Over the past 80 years the means to apply Air Power during
a
conflict
has
been
Concentrations of
strategic bombing.
"strategic" bombers were originally considered the only way to
achieve the desired strategic results.
The central theme of
this thesis is that this is no longer the case.
Instead of
bludgeoning an opponent through indiscriminate carpet bombing,
we can now apply
focused and discriminate force.
Advanced
conventional weapons with precision guidance allow air power
to
achieve
economically.
strategic
results
quickly,
effectively
and
But no advance in technology yields an edge in
vi
combat
responses
forever;
countermeasures developed.
will
found
be
effective
and
Therefore, the United States must
continue to develop and produce advanced conventional weapons
and the systems that support them.
Just
appear
when
to
threats
the
have
we
diminished,
environment has entered
a new,
have
understood
the
international
for
less stable phase.
decades
security
The future
demands a comprehensive understanding of Air Power and its
uses.
is
In this regard,
used
in
its
most
let me make it clear that
comprehensive
"Air Power"
thing
One
sense.
is
certain, Air Power will play a leading role in our response to
future security challenges.
It will in some
circumstances be
the only application of military power and in others will be
the
form on which successful
depend.
In
essence,
surface and naval
air power now dominates
operations
nearly every
military role and mission.
The thesis briefly reviews the employment of air power in
previous conflicts.
The experiences of the past provide a
background for comparison with the Air War in the Gulf and
reveals how precision accuracy alters the way in which we view
air power.
aircraft
a
In particular
potential
it
makes each and every tactical
strategic
asset
and
targets
normally
reserved for strategic assets can now be destroyed by tactical
assets.
The implications of this fact transcend many levels
of modern warfare,
this thesis limits itself to exploring the
impact of this new technology upon naval air power.
vii
primary
The
(PGM's)
weapons
is
.
they
advantage
can
precision
of
destroy
a
target
guided
with
a
In essence they exploit the economy of
of warfare.
munitions
minimum
of
force maxim
The importance of this fact is very relevant to
naval air power.
PGM's question the reasons why naval air
power is not considered an integral portion of any strategic
air campaign.
Naval air power, both cruise missiles and naval
tactical aviation, can make an important contribution to any
future bombing campaign; in some cases it may be the only way
to get the 30b done.
Vlll
I
Until
recently,
INTRODUCTION
.
history
the
Air
of
characterized by exaggerated claims.
been
has
Power
The stunning results of
the Gulf War indicate that modern Air Power may at last have
the
The performance of
claimed for so long.
capabilities
precision guided munitions suggest the following thesis:
technological
advances
have
accuracy
that
prevented
decisive
role
in
the
accuracy
precision
and
largely
alone
bombing
recent
much
solved
The
past.
improved
problem of
the
from
the
playing
the
achievement
target
of
acquisition
suggests that Air Power now dominates much of modern warfare.
overwhelming victory
The
in
Gulf
the
War
stands
as
symbol of the maturity of Air Power; it has come of age.
a
The
Air War in the Gulf was revolutionary in the sense that very
few bombs were required to achieve an enormous amount of very
precise destruction.
focused,
The
existence of
precision
guided weapons allowed single aircraft to accomplish what, in
the past, would have taken literally thousands of aircraft to
accomplish or could not have been accomplished at all.
Just
appear
when
to
environment
the
have
has
threats
we
have
understood
the
international
diminished,
entered
a
less
decades
for
stable phase.
security
The
future
demands a comprehensive understanding of Air Power and its
uses.
In that
regard,
let me make it
clear that
I
use the
term "Air Power" in its most comprehensive sense.
submit
I
that air power will play a leading role in our response to
future security challenges.
It will in some
circumstances be
the only application of military power and in others it will
be the form on which successful surface and naval operations
depend.
In
essence,
air power now dominates
nearly every
military role and mission.
A.
THESIS
The early prophets of air power--notably General Giulio
Douhet (1869-1930), General William Mitchell (1879-1936), and
Air Marshal Hugh Trenchard
1873-1956 --based their visions on
)
(
the very limited air power experience of World War
Their
I.
visionary reach exceeded their technological grasp by many
decades.
As
a
result
they
seemed to promise quick,
cheap
This was certainly true of General
victories from the air.
Douhet, who insisted that achieving "command of the air" would
not only be necessary but also sufficient for victory.
1
The first conflict that saw the employment of air power on
a
large
scale,
advocates.
World
War
Shortcomings
II,
in
tempered
both
the
views
technology
and
of
its
combat
experience meant that victory in WWII came neither quickly nor
'This central theme is expressed in David Maclsaac,
"Voices From the Central Blue:
The Air Power Theorists," in
Makers of Modern Strategy:
From Machiavelli to the Nuclear
Age,
Princeton
ed
Peter Paret
New Jersey:
(Princeton,
University Press, 1986), pp. 624-647.
.
-
The many assumptions and promises of the air power
cheaply.
prophets fell short.
theory as
dreams.
a
As a result many came to view air power
series of unrealized,
and perhaps unreachable,
However, recent experience suggests that perhaps the
early air power prophets were basically correct.
General Douhet established a primary tenet of air power
that has remained constant over the years.
He considered the
guiding principle of any bombing actions should be this:
the objective must be destroyed completely in one attack,
making further attack on the same target unnecessary
.
This tenet was originally interpreted as the delivery of large
amounts
of
destruction.
munitions
against
a
target
to
ensure
its
Many technological shortcomings, such as limited
carrying capacity, precision navigation equipment, and weapons
accuracy,
existed in air power's early years that required
this solution.
Over the past 80 years the means to apply Air Power during
a
conflict
has
been
strategic bombing.
Concentrations
of
"strategic" bombers were originally considered the only way to
achieve the desired strategic results.
The central theme of
this thesis is that this is no longer the case.
Instead of
bludgeoning an opponent through indiscriminate carpet bombing,
we now can apply focused and discriminate force.
Advanced
conventional weapons with precision guidance allow air power
The CADRE
-'Charles M. Westenhoff, Military Air Power:
Digest of Air Power Opinions and Thoughts, (Maxwell Air Force
Base, Alabama:
Airpower Research Institute, 1990), p. 50.
to
achieve
strategic
responses
forever;
countermeasures developed.
continue
to
effectively
quickly,
and
But no advance in technology yields an edge in
economically.
combat
results
develop
will
found
be
effective
and
Therefore, the United States must
advanced
weapons
conventional
and
the
systems that support them.
A brief review of air power history is in order to develop
argument
this
background
The
.
experiences
comparison
for
with
from
the
the
Air
past
War
in
provide
the
a
Gulf.
Precision accuracy has fundamentally altered the way we view
air power.
In particular
aircraft
potential
a
makes each and every tactical
it
strategic
Targets
asset.
normally
reserved for strategic assets can now be destroyed by tactical
The
assets.
implications
transcend many
levels
of
of
this
are
fact
modern warfare.
profound
This
thesis
and
is
limited to exploring the impact of this new technology upon
naval
air
power.
At
the
outset
a
few
definitions
are
required to provide a common frame of reference.
B.
DEFINITIONS
1.
Precision Guided Munitions
The term precision guided munitions applies
to
the
complete weapon system based on technologies such as sensors,
munitions,
systems,
advanced information systems,
communications systems,
target acquisition
and missile defense.
For
this purpose it will refer to extended-range cruise missiles
.
.
.
and guided munitions of great precision, discrimination, and
control,
that
possess
a
near-zero
circular
error probable
j
(CEP)
While improved accuracy is required to
fulfill
the
definition of an advanced conventional weapon, there also must
be sufficient destructive capability in the warhead to ensure
a
high probability of kill.
technologies
several
horizon
2.
that
This
is
already
accomplished through
exist,
or
are
on
the
4
Strategic Conflict
The term strategic conflict is defined by its scope.
Carl
Builder suggests that the most helpful definition for
strategic conflict comes from Webster
'
s
dictionary in which
it
is warfare designed "to strike at an enemy at the sources of
his military, economic or political power."' the thrust of the
overall war effort.
Circular Error Probable (CEP) - the radius of the circle
around the intended target within which there is a 50 percent
probability that a weapon aimed at the target would land
within
for a more detailed description on precision guided
munitions and the basics of their operation, I suggest the
following publication:
R.
Heaston and C. W. Smoots,
J.
Introduction to Precision Guided Munitions GACIAC HB-83-01
Vol 1, (Chicacgo, Illinois: Guidance and Control Information
Analysis Center, 1983).
4
,
Webster's New Collegiate dictionary,
Massachusetts:
Merriam, 1981), 1141, in Carl
Prospects and Implications of Non-nuclear Means
conflict,"
Adelphi
Paper
(London:
200,
Institute for Strategic Studies, 1985), p. 2.
"'
(Springfield,
Builder, "The
for Strategic
International
3
.
Center of Gravity
The term center of gravity is useful in planning any
during
operations
Clausewitz
conflict.
a
considered
the
center of gravity to be the "hub of all power and movement."
It
and
describes that point where the enemy is most vulnerable
where
point
decisive or a
accomplish
attack has
the
the
best
specific point where a
more
than
that
same
chance
level
level
of
of
effort
effort
of
being
can
could
accomplish if applied elsewhere.''
C.
SUMMARY
The issue is whether we have entered a new era in which
bombing can determine who will win the war.
Today
after
80
years of experience extending across the spectrum of conflict
and
some
stunning
technological
dominates modern warfare.
caught
up
with nearly a
If
so,
developments
air
power
modern technology may have
century of
air
power
theory with
profound implications for the future of warfare.
Current technologies allow for the production of highly
accurate and relatively inexpensive extended range weapons.
The
difficulty
is
that
in
the
current
era
of
constraints our political leaders may decide otherwise.
b
fiscal
The
The term "center of gravity" is drawn from John A.
Warden, The Air Campaign:
Planning for Combat, (Washington
D.C.:
National Defense University Press, 1988), pp 9-11.
.
.
:
.
implication is
that
new technologies
likely to be
are not
vigorously pursued because of budgetary concerns
However, decision makers inclined to reduce or eliminate
financial
support
for
sophisticated
advanced
conventional
munitions systems and technology should first appreciate the
following
Surface forces have great difficulty operating
face of strong, hostile air power.
1.
in
the
In what has been called the low intensity conflict
environment, air power provides advantages for surface
forces engaged in guerrilla tactics.
Specifically these
advantages are mobility, aerial reconnaissance, and quickresponse firepower.
2.
Modern navies have capitalized heavily on the strength of
3
naval air power with the aircraft carrier and the new role
cruise
missiles. In
of
surface
ships
armed
with
a
conventional war, only air power can be rapidly applied
simultaneously to every type of target, whether strategic,
operational or tactical.
The
existence of advanced conventional weapons underscores
these points.
how
air
we are only beginning to understand
In truth,
with
power
modern warfare.
advanced
conventional
affects
None of this should be taken to deny the
importance of surface and naval
Air power
remain.
weapons
cannot
forces for whom many tasks
occupy
territory
or
maintain
a
continuous forward presence without a base in close proximity.
air
However,
creates
enemy
power
conditions
not
strategies
just
does
for
battle
possess
our
and
forces
tremendous
to
campaign
fight
leverage
that
by denying the
choices,
but
whole
.
A LOOK AT THE PAST
II.
sense
A
history
of
an
is
essential
strategic thought for several reasons.
viewing
from
war
isolation
in
element
in
the
First it prevents one
demonstrates
and
the
relationship between war and those political, economic, social
and
intellectual
history
considerations
strengthens
empirical evidence.
critical
permit
that
judgment
In particular,
with
war.
its
Second,
wealth
of
the historical context of
air power's role in the spectrum of combat is necessary to
provide
a
contrast with the recent employment of air power in
the Gulf War and highlights the amazing impact of precision
guided munitions.
This chapter illustrates the nature of air power prior to
precision
guided
weapons.
There
numerous
are
books
and
articles on the effectiveness of past strategies designed to
apply air power during a conflict; no attempt to argue this
point
is
made
translating
weapon
here.
strategy
systems
will
Instead,
into
be
the
employment
historical
and
investigated.
their
Of
problem of
associated
particular
importance, the introduction of precision guided munitions in
Vietnam heralded their impact in the Gulf War.
The linkage
between strategy and weapons is of prime importance in this
thesis
A.
AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
The doctrine for strategic air attack was already firmly-
established before World War II.
During the period between
1920 and 1941,
U.S. military planners
based
premise
the
on
that
formulated a doctrine
neutralization
of
an
enemy's
industrial base would destroy the will and means of the enemy
to wage war.
The Army Air Corps Tactical School was the focal point for
the development of strategic bombardment doctrine during the
Originally, the school was founded in 1920 with the
period.
After a change
title of Air Service Field Officer's School.
in
name,
a
move,
and a change in scope,
became the Air
it
Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama in 1931.
of
the first students at the school were Ira C.
Eaker,
Some
Carl
Spaatz, Curtis Lemay, Haywood Hansell and Claire E. Chennault.
These men would become central figures in the development and
employment of air power in war.
The school went through many steps in the development of
a
doctrine to employ air power.
The initial work was heavily
influenced by the experience of World War
I
and by a very
outspoken advocate of air power, General "Billy" Mitchell.
1930,
the
bombardment
school's
central
doctrine,
formations
known as
included a premise
throughout World War II.
bomber
theory,
could
the
that
was
By
strategic
to
last
Specifically the premise was that
concentrate
enough
firepower
on
a
given target to overcome the limitation in accuracy of early
.
aircraft and provide sufficient self-defense against hostile
aircraft
.
The theory of strategic bombardment developed during the
1930's included the following: 7
1. Accurate strategic bombing favored daylight operations.
Daylight would improve bombing accuracy because it would
allow large aircraft formations and would reduce the
navigation problem.
Attacks should be from high altitude.
Low altitude
treetop-level bombing was considered as a means to reduce
detection by hostile aircraft but was rejected because of
navigational problems.
2.
Attacks should be against the national economic structure
The
targets included:
3
to reduce the will and ability of the enemy to fight.
-refineries
-electric power facilities
-aircraft industrial facilities
-steel industry
-transportation systems
-sources of raw materials 8
The
strategic
complete
bombardment
destruction
of
the
doctrine
did
above
targets.
not
require
The
the
official
statements from the tactical school on the objectives of any
strategic bombing campaign clarify the point:
It must be remembered that disorganization ... rather than
complete destruction is the ultimate aim of the Air
Haywood S. Hansel 1, Jr., The Air Plan That Defeated
Hitler
(Atlanta, Georgia:
Higgins-McArthur 1972), pp. 417
,
,
48.
^
Bombardment
Field, Alabama,
Text, Air Corps
1935, pp. 49-76.
10
Tactical
School,
Maxwell
.
Force .. .disorganization is the aim because
economical and is equally effective."
it
is
more
The tactical school also developed a probability concept
to determine how many bombs would be required to destroy the
The results of peacetime bombing competitions
target sets.
were used to determine an appropriate force composition to
achieve
a
90 percent
probability of destruction.
the concept had obvious limitations.
The use of
The biggest assumption
was that the accuracy achieved in peacetime exercises could be
maintained in
a
environment.
combat
It
was
not
until
the
experience of actual combat was this assumption altered, but
concept
the
set
the
techniques to calculate
stage
a
for
the
use
mathematical
of
target's probability of destruction;
these techniques made the importance of accuracy dramatically
clear
B.
WORLD WAR II
In July
concern
1941,
that
the
President Franklin D. Roosevelt expressed
quantity
of
available
weapons
inadequate to execute our doctrine in wartime.
Secretary
production
Henry
Stimson
to
determine
requirements
needed
to
defeat
of
War
might
be
He directed
the
our
overall
potential
The Air Force, Air Corps Tactical School, Maxwell Field,
Alabama, 1932-1933, p. 7.
'
11
.
enemies.
located
10
in
The
the
War
Air
Department
Corps
utilized
Tactical
employment doctrine for Air Power in
the
School
a
war.
articulated in the Air War Plans Division
to
experience
develop
an
The doctrine was
(AWPD)
document,
which became known as AWDP-1.
Developing the doctrine was
drafters of AWDP-1.
a
massive undertaking for the
The drafters of the document made some
basic assumptions on the accuracy of the weapons, the number
of weapons required to destroy a given target and an estimate
of aircraft loss rates.
These assumptions were gleaned from
the limited American combat experience in the application of
air power in World War
I
.
However,
the more recent combat
experience of our Allies did influence the creation of AWDP-1.
The following are the results of this early plan designed to
guide the application of air power in the upcoming war:
The planners used July 1943 as the time period for the
start of operations.
A final all out attack was scheduled
for some time between April and September of 1944.
1.
The targets included 154 separate types that included
electric power systems, transportation sites, petroleum
An
sites,
aircraft assembly plants and many others.
interesting note is that electrical power sites were
considered the primary target.
2
3. The drafters established a requirement of 220 100 pound
bombs to destroy a 100 square-foot target.
A heavy bombardment group consisted of 70 aircraft. The
recent combat experience of the Royal Air Force suggested
that bombing errors in combat conditions were 2.25 times
4.
^'Russell F. Wrigley, The American Way of War: A History
of United States Military Strategy and Policy
(Bloomington,
333-336.
Indiana:
Press,
Indiana University
1977), pp.
,
12
.
greater than peacetime bombing. The limitation in accuracy
meant 3 bomber groups were necessary to destroy a target.
The equation was applied to all targets using only eight
suitable weather days per month for daylight visual bombing
in a six-month period.
As a result the Air Doctrine
calculated that 6,860 bombers were necessary for the bombing
effort ."
The drafters of AWDP-1 were convinced of the merits of air
power.
They enthusiastically stated that if the air offensive
was
successful,
The
implicit
a
land
hope
for
invasion might
power
air
not
was
revolutionary way of winning the war.
necessary.
be
that
offered
it
1
-'
a
The bold air plan was
submitted to Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall
who
quickly
approved
and
forwarded
the
document
the
to
President
In late 1942, based on actual combat experience, the AWDP1
was
updated.
The new document was
against
strategic
offensive
Germany.
It
against
called
Axis
the
for
powers
conclusive
a
and
strategic defensive against Japan in the Far East
differed from its predecessor in two ways.
Air Force
(AAF)
and was
Air power still was the key to
similar to the previous plan.
operations
the AWDP-42
and Royal Air Force
(RAF)
.
for
a
AWDP-42
It combined
Army
operations into a
single offensive strategy and broadened the target set.
The
n Air War Plans Division-1, Munitions Requirements of the
Army Air Forces (12 August 1941), Part 2, tab 1, 2, 2b.
(Hereafter referred to as AWPD-1.)
12
AWDP-1, part
2,
tab
1,
13
p.
2.
)
document defined the different missions of the AAF and the RAF
as
:
The U.S. Army Air Force will concentrate its efforts upon
systematic destruction of selected vital elements of the
German military and industrial machine through precision
bombing in daylight.
The R.A.F. will concentrate upon
mass air attacks of industrial areas at night, to break
down morale. 13
The
target
list
specified
the
in
AWPD-42
placed more
emphasis upon the destruction of the German U-boat threat and
the Luftwaffe.
The targets in priority order included pursuit
bomber airplane assembly plants,
airplane assembly plants,
aeroengine plants, submarine yards, transportation sites, and
power generating sites. 14
The
new
target
set
forced
a
revision
structure required to ensure destruction.
a
requirement for 2,965 bombers and,
called for a
in contrast
to AWPD-1,
used
accuracy of 1,000 feet for circular error probable
calculate the force requirements.
the
177
identified targets
delivered
biggest
on
66,045
sorties
the
tons
of
2,965
assumption made by the AWPD-42 was
n Air
bombing
a
(CEP)
to
The planners felt that for
136,500
by
force
the
AWPD-42 established
The planners
fighter escort.
of
bombs would be
bombers.
that
1
"'
the
The
force
for
Air
War
Plans
Division-42,
Requirements
Ascendancy (9 September 1942), Part IV, p. 2. (Hereafter
referred to as AWDP-42
.
14
ir
AWPD-42, Tab B-l-a.
Tbid.
14
:
.
.
requirement
could be maintained regardless
of
the
rate
of
attrition
November 1942
In
the Casablanca Conference
Allied plan for strategic bombing.
offensive
air
became
The overall goal of the
progressive
the
dislocation of the German military,
changed the
destruction
industrial,
and
and economic
system and the undermining of the morale of the German people
to
a
point
where
fatally weakened.
their
capacity
for
armed
resistance was
10
The Casablanca Conference also changed the priority of the
targets for the air offensive, they were directed in order of
priority
1.
German submarine construction yards
2.
The German aircraft industry
3
Transportation
4.
Oil plants
5.
Other targets in the enemy war industry 17
However, the Casablanca agreements on target priority were not
the final determination of what targets, how many aircraft and
what accuracy of weapons should be used in planning for the
strategic bombing offensive.
l0
Russell F. Wrigley, The American Way of War: A History
of United States Military Strategy and Policy
p. 338.
,
17
Thomas A. Fabyanic, Strategic Air Attack in the United
States Air Force: A Case Study
(Manhattan, Kansas: Military
Affairs/Aerospace Historian Publishing, 1976), p. 75.
,
15
Instead, a committee of operational analysts made a study
of the German economy and, using the political guidance of the
Casablanca Conference,
made a target
list
recommendation.
13
The list was combined with the AWDP-42 and the final target
list was made for the combined bomber offensive.
The analysts
and planners identified targets were considered the "key vital
centers"
of
the German War
effort,
these
targets were,
in
order of priority:
1.
Intermediate Objective:
German fighter strength
Primary Objectives:
German submarine yards and bases,
the remainder of the German aircraft industry, ball bearing
plants, oil production sites
2.
3.
Secondary Objectives:
production sites
vehicles 1Q
and
synthetic
rubber
military motor
and
tire
transport
The target list contained 76 actual targets and required
a
force
of
2,702
bombers. 20
The
importance
of
this
target set was that its objective was air supremacy.
of
new
The goal
air supremacy marked a major modification to air power
doctrine.
The strategists did not accept Douhet
that a contest for air supremacy was not necessary. Jl
'
s
Actual
combat experiences identified the nature of the problem.
la
Ibid,
p.
idea
The
7;
^Wrigley, The American Way of War: A History of United
States Military Strategy and Policy,
p. 337.
Strategic Air Attack in the United States Air
A Case Study,
p. 80.
-'°Fabyanic,
Force:
j:
Wrigley, The American Way of War:
A History of United
States Military Strategy and Policy,
p. 334.
16
.
effectiveness of the German Air Defense indicated that the
bomber would not always get through.
necessary
to
counter
the
threat
Long-range fighters were
of
German
The
fighters.
result was planners recognized the need for rival fighters to
struggle for command of the air.
The significance of the strategic bombing attacks on the
German industrial base is reflected by Albert Speer's comments
thirty years later:
.On that day
I shall never forget the date May 12 [1944]
Until then we had
the technological war was decided.
managed to produce approximately as many weapons as the
armed forces needed, in spite of their considerable
[equipment and personnel] losses. But with the attack of
nine hundred and thirty-five daylight bombers of the
American Eighth Air Force upon several fuel plants in
central and eastern Germany, a new era in air war
.
began
.
22
German industrial production could no longer fully support the
war effort.
The
Germany
The air offensive had made
lessons
are
Strategic
of
Bombing
difference.
strategic bombing
the
reflected
a
in
Survey
the
report
(USSBS)
.
by
The
campaign
the
against
United
report
States
made
these
general observations:
full scale strategic bombing directed at the heartland of
any major power, even one as rugged and resilient as
Germany's, could be decisive .. .Regardless of the forces
actually applied, the USSBS concluded that persistent reattack of all targets was necessary since no target system
had been put out of commission by a single attack.
-
"Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich
Macmillan Company, 1970), p. 346.
Ji
Force:
,
(New York:
The
Fabyanic, Strategic Air Attack in the United States Air
A Case Study,
p. 95.
17
.
The
technology
available
during World War
II
created
the
requirement to re-attack targets; the fundamental limitation
was the lack of precision accuracy.
THE STRATEGIC AIR CAMPAIGN AGAINST JAPAN
C.
The initial phases of the war against Japan were purely
The Allies agreed to make the defeat of Germany
defensive.
the primary objective of the overall war effort.
the
war
doctrine
in
of
the
Pacific
strategic
shifted
bombing
to
and
an
its
By the time
offensive
one,
associated
the
weapon
systems incorporated several refinements.
The U.S. strategic air war in Europe was fought primarily
with the B-17, whereas the strategic war against Japan used
the more modern and capable B-2 9.
The USSBS provides other
comparisons between the European and Pacific strategic air
campaigns
The physical destruction resulting from the air attack on
Japan approximates that suffered by Germany, even though
The attack
the tonnage of bombs dropped was far smaller.
was more concentrated in time, and the target areas were
smaller and more vulnerable. Not only were the Japanese
defenses overwhelmed, dispersal and passive defenses were
less than Germany's.
In the aggregate some 40 percent of
the built-up area of the 66 cities attacked was destroyed.
Approximately 30 percent of the active urban population of
Japan lost their home and many of their possessions. The
physical destruction of industrial plants subjected to
The
high-explosive attacks was similarly impressive.
larger bomb loads of the B-29 permitted higher density
bombs per acre in the plant area, and on the average,
18
.
:
somewhat heavier bombs were used.
The destruction was
generally more complete than in Germany.^
4
The targets struck by the B-29's in Japan were similar to
those
in
Europe.
The
Joint
Targeting Group in Washington
suggested the rationale behind the selection of targets.
It
states that
there were no strategic bottlenecks in the Japanese
industrial and economic system except aircraft engine
plants,
but
the enemy's
industry as a whole was
vulnerable through incendiary attacks on the principal
urban areas.'
.
.
.
15
priority
The
targets
were
manufacturing
engine
plants,
followed by four aircraft component and assembly plants. Port
urban
and
industrial
areas
were
designated
as
secondary
targets
The Allies planned for a strategic air attack to reduce
the will of the Japanese.
The incendiary raids on Japan were
specifically
accomplish
designed
civilian deaths
to
attributed
to
the
objective.
this
incendiary
raids
The
proved
The bombing survey reported that:
staggering.
[civilian deaths] exceeded the number of strictly military
deaths inflicted on the Japanese in combat by armed forces
of the U.S. ... more persons were killed in one 6-hour
period by the least expenditure of bombs than in any other
recorded attack of any kind. 2b
~4
War),
The United
Report no.
States
1,
p.
17.
Strategic Bombing Survey (Pacific
(Hereafter referred to as USSBS.)
jr
Wesley Craven and James Cate, eds
The Air Force in
World War II
(Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1953),
.
,
,
vol. V. p.
J
'USSBS
624.
(Pacific War), Report no.
19
90.
p.
2.
In March,
1945, the most destructive conventional air raid
in history was conducted against Tokyo.
killed 83,793 people,
Tokyo's
buildings,
homeless.
j7
In loss of life,
injured 40,918, destroyed
and
more
left
than
a
a
it
quarter of
million
people
The Allies wanted to bring Japan to surrender
without having to resort to a invasion, the objective was to
end the war quickly and keep their casualties to a minimum.
It
interesting
is
conventional
note
to
attack
the
that
compare
casualties
magnitude
in
to
of
either
this
the
casualties from the use of atomic weapons at either Hiroshima
or Nagasaki.
In retrospect, the use of atomic weapons was the
logical next step in the strategic bombing offensive.
D.
WORLD WAR II WEAPON SYSTEMS
brief
A
description
of
the
aircraft
employed
in
the
strategic bombing campaigns of World War II is a requirement
for the reader to understand two important points.
is
the
dramatic
improvements
that
have
The first
occurred
through
numerous technological advances made over Air Power's history.
The
other
point
is
Airmen
have
innovations to improve accuracy.
continually
looked
for
The implication is that the
technology resident in today's advanced conventional weapons
reflect
the
end of
an
80
year search for accuracy and the
evolution of technology.
j7
Wrigley, p. 364.
20
The main weapon system for the U.S.
bombing offensive
against Germany was the B-17 Flying Fortress.
models
of
the
aircraft
did
not
have
enough
armament to be a true "Flying Fortress."
The initial
defensive
of
By the end of 1941,
numerous improvements were incorporated into the B-17G.
The
improved model had a top speed of 300 mph at 30,000 feet, an
armament of 13 .50-caliber machine guns and could carry up to
pounds
17,600
of
gravity bombs
pounds for long ranges.
for
short
ranges
or
4,000
The B-17G was superior to the best
British and German bombers of the time. 28
A
clear
example
of
wartime
experience,
strategy,
and
operational requirements leading to a weapon system is the
development of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress.
The design of
this aircraft reflects the doctrine of strategic bombing by
high-altitude heavily armed bombers.
The armament of the B-2 9
included four remote-controlled turrets each containing two
.50-caliber machine guns and a direct-controlled tail turret
containing two
.50-caliber machine guns and a
2
0mm cannon.
The major improvement over the B-17 was that the B-2 9 could
carry a larger payload to a greater distance.
The aircraft
could carry up to 16,000 pounds of bombs to a maximum range of
5,830 miles. 29
28
War II
29
John Kirk and Rober Young, Jr., Great Weapons of World
(New York: Walker and Company, 1961), pp. 72-75.
,
Ibid, pp.
122-135
21
During
the
course
of
the
war
incorporation
the
of
a
technological innovation suggests U.S. airmen actively desired
a
way to increase the accuracy of the existing systems.
the Pacific theater,
In
improvements in radar allowed strategic
precision bombing to be conducted at night or in all-weather
conditions.
reviewing
after
LeMay made the
General
the
results
of
a
following observation
directed mission:
radar
have just reviewed the post-strike photography of your
strike on target 17 64, the Maruzen Oil Refinery at
Shimotsu, the night of 6/7 July. With a half -wing effort
you achieved ninety-five percent destruction, definitely
establishing the ability of your crews with the APQ-7 [the
radar] to hit and destroy precision targets, operating
individually at night.
The performance is the most
successful radar bombing of the command to date. 30
I
During
the
European
strategic
bombing
offensive,
daylight
precision bombing required clear weather and good visibility
for the Norden optical bombsight to work.
The introduction of
radar on. the B-29 provided the means to give the Allies a more
precise strategic bomber.
The search was definitely on to increase bombing accuracy.
The results did not achieve anything close to near zero CEP.
However, before the development of precision guided munitions
answer
another
target
with
a
became
available.
direct
impact,
the
Instead
ability
of
destroying
to
deliver
a
an
enormous destructive blast on a target presented itself.
30
Japan
,
Hansell, Jr., Strategic Air War Against
S.
(Maxwell AFB, Alabama:
Airpower Research Institute,
Haywood
1980), p.
63.
22
E.
THE INTRODUCTION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
The atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
are
perhaps the most publicized of the strategic bombing attacks
of the war.
The weapons marked a revolutionary increase in
the destructive potential of air power.
From
weapon standpoint,
development
they were a
logical
a
strategy to
in
the
However kind or unkind history-
doctrine of strategic bombing.
is to the first and only use of nuclear weapons,
they do mark
a long period of stagnation in the evolution of U.S. strategic
thought on air power.
The issue of whether the use of atomic weapons induced the
Japanese
to
surrender
is
widely
a
debated
topic.
The
conclusions of the USSBS indicate the nature of the issue:
From the standpoint of the politics of surrender--and by
August 1945 politics was the key--the atom bombing of
From its
Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not essential.
studies of Japanese resources, military position, and
ruling class politics, the survey estimates that the
government would have surrendered prior to 1 November and
certainly before the end of the year, whether or not the
atomic bombs had been dropped and Russia had entered the
war.
In the 10 to 15 weeks between the actual and
probable surrender date, the air attack from the Marianas,
augmented by the Okinawa-based forces, would have reached
Furthermore, morale probably would have
a new high.
complete
continued
its
already
decline
steep
to
demoralization.
The atom bombs hastened surrender, but
did not themselves provide the major motive. 31
Clearly,
the use of atomic weapons provided the Japanese an
added incentive to surrender, they were not the sole reason.
Nuclear weapons may not have been instrumental during World
31
USSBS (Pacific War), Report no. 14, p.
23
4
War II, but they did play a major role in shaping the post-war
international environment.
Strategic
power,
bombing,
contemporary
the
embodiment
of
air
could now cripple a country's war effort with either
conventional or nuclear weapons.
As long as the U.S. held a
monopoly on atomic weapons it enjoyed a remarkable advantage.
However,
the
U.S.
lost
luxury once
this
attained a nuclear capability.
Soviet
the
Union
Air power now had two faces,
a nuclear one and a conventional one.
The juxtaposition of
the two created a period of stagnation in air power thought
and doctrine
as
its
advocates
struggled to
deal
with the
enormous destructive qualities of atomic weapons.
The theme of U.S. strategic bombing during World War II
had been to limit civilian casualties whenever possible.
introduction
of
atomic
bombs
eliminated
between military and civilian targets.
the
The
distinction
Nuclear weapons were
simply too powerful for pinpoint attacks.
Collateral damage
to civilians would unavoidably occur in any strategic bombing
campaign using nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons created a
dilemma for U.S. air power advocates.
The incorporation of atomic weapons into Air Power created
a deterrent
strategy that prevails even today.
This thesis
affected the proper employment of air power in the two major
conflicts of the Cold War.
a
The threat of a larger conflict or
nuclear exchange affected the employment of air power in
both Korea and Vietnam.
24
F.
THE KOREAN WAR
The results of Air Power against North Korea are somewhat
confusing but in the aggregate can be considered successful.
The strategic bombing campaign in Korea began in August of
1950 but only lasted eight weeks.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff
determined:
that destruction of such targets of relatively long-term
military significance was no longer considered necessary.
Hence forward, all air operations were to be directed
against' objectives which had an immediate bearing upon the
tactical situation in Korea. 32
Strategic air operations were terminated on 27 September 1950
and for the remainder of the war air power was employed to
interdict the North Korean military.
Originally, military planners compiled a priority listing
of
strategic
targets.
targets were
The
rather than a specific target set.
assigned by area
Most of the targets were
close together and required only a minimum number of missions.
The plan called for incendiary raids against the target areas
followed by demolition bombs
industrial plants. 33
in
precision attacks against
The Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the
plan, but
Washington was very hesitant about any air action which
might be exploited by Communist propaganda and desired no
32
Robert Frank Futrell,
Korea 1950-1953
(New York:
,
p.
The United States Air Force in
Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1961),
158.
33
Ibid, p.
176.
25
unnecessary civilian casualties which might result from
fire raids.
34
The threat of escalation to a larger scale conflict prompted
the U.S. political leadership to restrict the use of air power
in Korea.
The initial attacks were heavy and targets were hit until
destroyed.
B-29's from the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) faced
little opposition as they bombed North Korean transportation
and industrial centers.
The bulk of
target
selection was
given to the FEAF's Target Committee which was
theater agency for target selection." 35
focused
first
attacks
against
Wonsan,
on
the
Pyongyang,
hydroelectric
North
the
North
Korean
Korean
and Konan.
power
plants
"basic
The Target Committee
industry
and
directed
facilities
in
Hungnam,
However,
along
the
North Korea's major
the
Yalu
river
were
deliberately not targeted. 36
In the end, U.S. strategic bombing in Korea followed post-
World War II conventional bombing doctrine closely.
became
evident,
weapons
However,
34
to
strategic
bombers
could
use
One point
conventional
interdict an opponents military infrastructure.
the use of air power in the Korean conflict was not
Ibid, pp.
178-179
35
From excerpts of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) Report
on the Korean War, 25 June 1950-27 July 1953, Vol. II in R. F.
Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950-1953, pp.
190-192.
36
Ibid.
26
.
considered its primary role.
Instead,
the emphasis remained
on the potential for a nuclear conflict.
this
is
that
consequently
little
The importance of
effort
was
placed
on
improving conventional capabilities.
G.
THE SECOND USE OF AIR POWER IN THE NUCLEAR AGE
The Vietnam conflict (1965-1973) in Southeast Asia was the
second large scale U.S. employment of air power in the nuclear
The strategic bombing campaign in Korea came at the
age.
start of hostilities while in Vietnam it came at
the end,
after a long intermittent aerial interdiction campaign.
In
Vietnam military doctrine was subordinated to a policy of
"coercive bargaining,
"
where force and the threat of greater
force were used as forms Of political pressure as signals of
intent,
Rolling
Thunder
provides
an
Political
example.
leaders .constrained the effective use of air power in both
Vietnam and Korea. 37
The effectiveness of air power in Vietnam must be viewed
in
the
light
employment.
Soviet
of
the
self-imposed
restrictions
on
its
The restrictions were designed to prevent direct
or Chinese
intervention that
could have
turned the
limited war into a direct confrontation between superpowers.
37
The basic ideas for this section are heavily influenced
by Mark Clodfelter, The Limits of Airpower:
The American
Bombing of North Vietnam,
(London: Collier-Macmillan, 1989)
27
The net result was to dilute the potency of the air campaign,
turning
it
into
a
war
attrition
of
against
the
North
Vietnamese.
During the war,
the U.S.
conducted two distinct bombing
campaigns, Rolling Thunder and Linebacker.
In both, the B-52
was the primary aircraft used to deliver large quantities of
ordnance.
The primary role of the B-52 was not strategic but
rather interdiction.
1
.
Ro 1 1 ing Thunder
President Johnson's approval for air strikes against
Vietnam in February 1965 began the first attempt to employ air
power in Vietnam for a strategic effect.
Operation
Rolling
Thunder,
a
major
On
24
February,
campaign
interdiction
characterized by gradually increasing the use of force, began
a nearly four year run.
The ominous name came as cells of B-52 bombers carpet
bombed acres of terrain in an effort
to
knock out
supply
caches and suspected locations of North Vietnamese troops.
Secretary of Defense McNamara provided the rationale for the
use of B-52s against these targets:
We are faced with very, very heavy jungle in certain
portions of South Vietnam, jungle so heavy that it is
impossible to find an aiming point in it
We know some of
these jungles are .used by the Viet Cong for base camps and
for storage areas... you can imagine that without an
ability to find an aiming point, there is only one way of
bombing it and that is with a random pattern. .and I
believe this was a proper use of the weapons [and] that
.
.
28
these strikes would destroy certain of the Viet Cong based
areas ... there is no other way of doing it. 38
Initially, the Rolling Thunder campaign was limited to
targets
south of the 20th parallel.
selection
The target
process was much different from that used in either World War
Korea.
or
II
No
longer did
the
priorities of strategic targets.
senior
staff
debate
the
Instead,
Washington still had reservations and placed severe
controls on B-52 employment. One such control called for
approval in Washington, sometimes at the White House
level, of all proposed targets. 39
Only targets on a list prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff
and approved by the Secretary of Defense and the President
could be hit.
attacking
Additionally, the bombers were restricted from
and
ports
industrial
plants. 40
The
acceptable
lists did not allow air commanders any leeway.
target
In
effect the constraints removed one of air power's greatest
advantages,
its flexibility.
In the middle of March, 1965, Washington loosened the
The approval was given for strikes into North
restrictions.
Vietnam itself, but the control over the lists of permissible
targets
remained
restrictions
in
Washington.
prevented
air
Additionally,
commanders
from
special
attacking
any
38
Carl Berger, ed., USAF is Southeast Asia, (Washington
Office of Air Force History, 1977), p. 149.
39
Ibid,
D.C.:
pp.
149-150.
40
Lon O. Nordeen, Jr., Air Warfare in the Missile Age,
(Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985), p.
11.
29
target within 30 miles of Hanoi, within 10 miles of Haiphong
or within
3
miles of China.
Throughout the air campaign the
president not only determined where and what his pilots could
attack but also how often they could do so. 41
Even with the targeting constraints, the effectiveness
of the B-52 during rolling thunder was demonstrated on several
General William C. Westmoreland provides one such
occasions.
example when several months after the battle of Khe Sanh he
observed,
the thing that broke their back basically was the fire of
the
B-52s...the heavyweight of
firepower,
was
the
tremendous tonnage of bombs dropped by our B-52s. 42
The
air
campaign
did
affect
the
outcome
of
tactical
situations, but on the strategic level it was a failure.
Vietnam is a country whose greatest resources are its
people and their food supply.
The difficulty for Rolling
Thunder is that it did not attack the correct types of targets
effectively.
For
the
typical
North
Vietnamese,
Thunder was more a nuisance than a danger.
Rolling
Few consumer goods
other than food arrived in the North, and throughout the air
campaign the average daily intake of calories fell from 1,910
in
1963
to
1,880
in
1967. 43
Although
Rolling
Thunder
affected the North Vietnamese, they quickly responded with a
41
Mark Clodfelter, The Limits of Airpower, pp. 118-124
42
Carl Berger, ed., USAF in Southeast Asia, p. 15 0.
43
Mark Clodfelter, The Limits of Airpower, p. 137.
30
stoic determination.
after a short period of
Additionally,
time the North Vietnamese knew that President Johnson would
not
allow the use of unrestricted air power against
their
country.
Rolling Thunder gradually grew more severe, reflecting
the movement of the debate among the president's advisors over
the value of bombing North Vietnam.
By the end of 1967, most
of North Vietnam's major electric power and industrial targets
were bombed.
U.S.
aircraft routinely fought their way into
and back out of North Vietnam's airspace.
North Vietnam's
government, in response, dispersed its petroleum supplies and
constructed more air raid shelters. 44
The response
the
to
air campaign enabled North Vietnam to tolerate the damage from
Rolling Thunder.
President Johnson announced on March 31, 1968 that the
United
States
parallel.
would
cease
all
bombing north
of
the
2
0th
Several factors influenced the president to make
this decision; the increasing numbers of U.S. casualties to an
increasingly effective North Vietnamese air defense network,
the Tet offensive and political turmoil in the United States.
The
essential
fact
is
that
Rolling Thunder
having achieved any- strategic result.
44
Ibid, p. 138.
31
ended without
2
Linebacker
.
On
March 1972,
3
army attacked across
regular units of North Vietnam's
the declared demilitarized
zone.
President Nixon ordered the Joint Chiefs to make
response,
preparations for air strikes into North Vietnam.
crucial
In
task
of
U.S.
air
power
was
to
slow
The most
the
North
Vietnamese invasion.
Once enough assets were available, aircraft began to
interdict
difference
Washington
supply
distinguishes
relaxed
A
transportation networks.
and
its
Linebacker
controls
from Rolling
over
the
crucial
Thunder.
conduct
of
operations, most of the targets on the original Joint Chiefs
target list were released, and commanders had the freedom to
choose when, where, and how frequently to attack a target. 45
The authority to strike almost any valid military target was
in sharp contrast to the extensive restrictions in existence
during Rolling Thunder.
Linebacker lasted from April through December of 1972
.
On 16 April, B-52s and other aircraft bombed the oil storage
facilities near Haiphong and on
closed the port of Haiphong.
8
May, Navy aircraft mined and
By the end of May, most of the
crucial rail lines linking China to Hanoi and Haiphong had
45
Ibid,
p.
164.
32
been cut.
North Vietnam's imports of material were cut to
less than one fifth of what they were before Linebacker. 46
Linebacker
I
achieved in its
first
four months
of
operation what Rolling Thunder had been unable to do in three
and
half
a
conducting
years.
both
participating
B-52s
strategic
and
in
interdiction
Linebacker
missions,
but
assessing their impact is beyond the scope of this paper.
However we shall review another key element contributing to
the
campaign's
success,
the use
of
aircraft with
tactical
precision guided munitions.
The Air Force and Navy successfully employed two newly
developed precision guided weapon systems, laser-guided bombs
(called Paveway)
(called
Walleye)
and an electro-optically guided glide bomb
.
The
type
of
target
being
determined the type of weapon used against it.
attacked
Against area
targets such as railroad yards and storage facilities, where
the
risk of
civilian casualties was minimal,
bombs were used.
Using
conventional
laser or electro-optical
guidance
technology developed after Rolling Thunder, the new precision
weapons could hit targets in populated areas with remarkable
accuracy and minimize collateral damage.
46
J.
(Boston:
1969-1973,
Morrocco, Rain of Fire:
Air War,
Boston Publishing Co., 1985), pp. 131-133.
33
The most widely used precision-guided weapon was the
Paveway family of laser guided bombs.
On 10 May, 1972 32 F-4s
attacked Hanoi's Paul Doumer Bridge, located close to Hanoi.
The bridge was within sight of Gia Lam airfield,
would
disrupt
demonstrate
and
rail
accuracy
the
vehicular
of
the
traffic
new weapons,
psychological effect on the North Vietnamese.
29
LGBs and heavily damaged the bridge. 47
General
Eugene
Hudson,
L.
asserted
Intelligence,
7th
that
Air
be
expanded,
the
true
importance
a
Pilots dropped
Air Force Major
Force
However,
of
area,
and have
Director
"laser-guided
revolutionalized tactical bombing." 48
can
the
in
loss
its
of
bombs...
his comments
precision guided
weapons was that they allowed tactical aircraft to participate
in a strategic bombing campaign.
H.
SUMMARY
In this brief examination of air power in past conflicts,
it
is
obvious
potential.
that
However,
its
employment
did
not
achieve
its
the history of air power has gradually
matured over the past 80 years, and its potency has increased
with time.
Unfortunately, nuclear weapons dominated our view
of military strategy during the past 40 years.
47
Mark Clodfelter, The Limits of Airpower, pp. 158-159.
48
Quoted in Mark Clodfelter, The Limits of Airpower, p
159
34
.
Strategic warfare became synonymous with nuclear warfare,
resulting
neglect
the
in
thought
of
employment of non-nuclear air power.
about
strategic
the
However,
this
has not
changed the necessity to determine our strategy and to build
weapon
capable
systems
of
responding
to
levels
all
of
conflict
The
nuclear
development
of
weapon
should
viable
conventional
a
not
substitute
strategy
in
for
the
today's
The lessons of World War II and the constraints
environment.
of Korea and Vietnam serve as the basis for a new approach to
the employment of air power in a conventional conflict.
final
stages
of
the
air
capabilities
increasing
battlefield.
campaign
of
air
in
The
Vietnam heralded the
power
to
dominate
the
Clearly precision guided munitions play a key
role in the proper employment of air power in modern warfare.
The following chapter examines the employment of air power in
the
Gulf
War,
the
first
conflict
precision guided munitions.
35
with widespread
use
of
III.
A SYMBOL OF MATURITY
The air campaign in the Gulf War is the application of Air
Power in its purest sense.
that a
It is revolutionary in the sense
few number of bombs achieved an enormous amount of
focused, precise destruction.
Desert Storm was the first war
in which single airplanes were able to fly through to their
targets and accomplish what in the past, either could not have
been
accomplished
at
all
or
would
thousands of airplanes to accomplish.
literally
taken
have
The issue for modern
strategists is whether we have entered an era in which bombing
alone can create the conditions for victory.
If
so,
modern
technology may have finally caught up with nearly a century of
theory with profound implications for the future of warfare.
A.
THE REAL AND SYMBOLIC VICTORY
The story of what happened in the air during Desert Storm
is well known.
Beginning in mid-January 1991, coalition air
power seized control of the air over both Kuwait and Iraq
within a few hours.
of days.
Air supremacy was evident within a matter
In nearly simultaneous actions,
air power blinded
and deafened the Iraqi leadership, making command and control
of Iraqi forces in the field exceedingly difficult.
The air
campaign attacked and destroyed strategic targets,
such as
power plants or nuclear facilities, and tactical targets.
36
The
.
tactical phase was a classic interdiction campaign designed to
physically isolate Iraqi surface forces deployed in and around
interesting
The
Kuwait.
point
of
the
campaign
is
that
although Desert Storm was conceived as a four-phased campaign,
all
phases
the point
overlapped to
that
they were
nearly
simultaneous
The result was that when the ground offensive began in
mid-February,
met minimal
it
resistance and quickly swept
forward from Saudi Arabia all the way to the Euphrates River.
The magnitude of
the aerial victory in the context of
the
overall campaign was revealed by the almost unbelievably low
casualty rate suffered by coalition surface forces. 49
In previous wars, the impact of air power had always been
a
bone
of
contention,
unsolvable debate.
the
was
issue
an
unresolved
an
the impact of air power
In the Gulf War,
was clearly overwhelming and decisive but similar results may
not occur in the next conflict.
However,
the nature of the
aerial victory is a sign of the ascendancy of air power in
It symbolizes the maturity of air power and
modern warfare.
the need for a new paradigm of warfare.
Air
power's
greatest
flexibility:
the
range,
aircraft
them
ideal
make
has
asset
speed,
precision
platforms
49
always
for
and
waging
been
its
punch
of
war
of
a
The total number of coalition casualties during the Gulf
War were 331 dead.
James F. Dunnigan & Austin Bay, From
Shield to Storm, (William Morrow and Company, New York: 1992)
37
.
maneuver.
Desert
Storm demonstrated how a
strategic
air
campaign can paralyze and immobilize a modern industrialized
nation.
Iraqi
communications,
transportation,
generating sites were rendered inoperative.
power
and
The air war in
the Gulf devastated the Iraqi military infrastructure in only
six weeks
Air
power
achieved
the
main
political
goals
of
the
coalition and produced one of the most decisive victories in
history.
At a cost of fewer than
2
00
coalition lives, nearly
150,000 Iraqi troops were killed or captured. 50
At the same
time, the number of civilian casualties as well as collateral
damage was kept to a minimum.
A key player in the Coalition's
success was the widespread use of precision guided munitions.
They connected the political objectives to military execution
with a high degree of reliability.
The political leadership
enjoyed greater confidence that discriminate
force
can be
applied to accomplish discrete objectives.
B.
THE PRELUDE TO OFFENSIVE ACTION
On August
2,
1990,
the very day of the Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait President Bush declared a national emergency to address
the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the
United States posed by the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. 51
50
James F. Dunnigan and Austin Bay, From Shield to Storm,
William Morrow and Co., 1992), p. 145.
(New York:
51
The
Executive Order 12722, 02 August 1990.
38
president accompanied his words with action.
Within a matter
of days a rapid mobilization and deployment of forces into the
region began.
Two carrier battle groups,
(CV-62)
and
the
USS
led by the USS Independence
Eisenhower
station in the Gulf area.
already
on
On the way were units of the Army's
82nd Airborne Division and F-15s
Tactical Fighter Wing, by
were
(CVN-69),
from the Air Force's
1st
August they had arrived in Saudi
7
Other U.S. and Coalition forces quickly followed in
Arabia.
the crucial six month buildup of Desert Shield.
The Navy
carriers
on
station
and the Air Force's
1st
Tactical Fighter Wing could defend Saudi airspace, but their
The ground forces in
offensive-strike capability was limited.
the
region were no match for the
poised
on
the
Kuwait-Saudi
Iraqi
border.
armored divisions
Of
necessity,
the
Coalition's initial strategy was defensive.
During the six months leading up to the war, many things
that
would
have
presented
occurred earlier were fixed.
theater
technical
provided
the
problems
the
conflict
had
The transfer of personnel to the
combat
and maintenance
if
forces
skills.
with
access
Personnel
for
to
key
critical
slots were brought into the region and maintenance and supply
units had time to be brought up to wartime strength.
However,
once the necessary assets for offensive action were available,
the initial defensive strategy became offensive.
39
.
C.
THE AIR WAR IN THE GULF
The Coalition's policy shifted from waiting for sanctions
implemented against
offensive.
On
Iraq
January
to
work to
taking
23,
1991,
General
the
strategic
Colin
Powell
succinctly summarized the offensive strategy selected by the
coalition:
Our strategy to go after this Army is very,
very simple. First we're going to cut it off,
and then we're going to kill it. 52
The issue at hand was how to seize and exploit the initiative.
The plan to take the strategic offensive was broken into
four phases.
The first three phases called for an all out air
campaign against Iraq.
Postwar accounts describe the plan:
Phase One would be an air attack on Iraqi command,
control, and communications, attempting to sever Saddam in
Baghdad from his forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq.
Simultaneously airpower would destroy the Iraqi Air Force
and air defense system [as well as] Iraqi chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons facilities.
Phase Two would be a massive, continuous air
bombardment of Iraqi supply munitions bases,
transportation facilities and roads, designed
forces from their
off the Iraqi
to cut
supplies
Phase Three would be an air attack on the
entrenched Iraqi ground forces of 430,000 men
and the Republican Guard. 53
"Excerpts from Pentagon Briefing on 2 3
reprinted in Andrew Rosenthal, "Pentagon is
War,", The New York Times 24 January 1991, p.
,
53
Harry G. Summers,
Analysis of the Gulf War,
p.
January 1991
Confident on
1.
A Critical
Jr., On Strategy II:
(New York: Dell Publishing, 1992),
195.
40
phase was
fourth
The
ground attack
the
into
Kuwait,
but
emphasis was on employing Coalition air power
clearly the
against Iraq.
early
the
In
hours
of
complete
January,
17
tactical
surprise was achieved in a coordinated attack delivered by
Tomahawk cruise missiles,
RSAF,
and helicopters
supported
by
from the US
large
a
aircraft from the USAF, USN,
electronic
scale
disrupt Iraqi radars and communications.
attack was
The
Army.
RAF,
warfare
effort
Integral
to
to
the
first two steps of the plan, and a major departure from past
was the widespread use of tactical aircraft
air campaigns,
with precision guided munitions to achieve a strategic result.
The
sea
warheads
launched
against
The
system.
the
targets
cruise
delivered
missiles
nerve
centers
were
command
of
the
posts,
1,000
lb
Iraqi
defense
ground
control
The arrival of the Tomahawks
headquarters and radar stations.
stimulated the Iraqi surveillance and surface to air missile
guidance radars,
thereby disclosing their positions to air
launched anti-radiation missiles.
F-117As, operating at night without escort, made precision
against
attacks
aircraft
can
strategic
carry
two
installations
laser
officially a tactical aircraft.
laser,
the
guided
in
20001b
Baghdad.
bombs
The
and
is
It illuminates a target by
and then delivers a bomb onto a specific point within
illumination producing weapon accuracies of one to two
feet.
The
36
F-117As deployed to the Gulf flew
41
2
percent of
the bombing missions but hit over 40 percent of the strategic
targets
54
.
Elsewhere, packages of USAF F-llls, F-15s, USN A-6s, A-7s,
and F/A-18s attacked secondary command and control positions
and air defense units throughout Iraq.
planners
Again,
relied on precision guided munitions,
degree that over the course of the air campaign,
aircraft conducted 9,117 strikes with PGMs
2
percent
3
8
the
of
to
strike
such
a
Coalition
This accounts for
.
percent of the total bombing missions,
bomb tonnage and about
the
percent of the
damage. 55
Never
before in a conflict had an air campaign relied upon such a
widespread use of precision guided munitions
The strike aircraft were closely supported by electronic
warfare
USAF EF-lllAs,
aircraft.
EC-130s,
and USN
EA-6s
disrupted surveillance radars, communications between ground
controllers
missile
and
the
fighters,
systems.
Iraqi
guidance
of
operators
radar
surface
increased
to
air
their
transmitter's power as they attempted to break through the
jamming.
This effort only made them more vulnerable to attack
from anti-radiation HARM missiles.
coordinated by
E-3A AWACS
aircraft and guided by a single air tasking order.
Throughout
The
entire
the period,
54
p.
James
air
assault
Coalition
F.
was
fighters
flew protective
sweeps
Dunnigan and Austin Bay, From Shield to Storm,
161.
55
and
Gulf War Air Power Survey (GWAPS)
42
,
Table 19-3.
patrols.
The result was that within 24 hours the Coalition
achieved
control
Iraqi
of
air
space
nearly
through
and
simultaneous actions, air power blinded the Iraqi leadership.
Phase one of the air campaign was complete in record time.
Although
Desert
Storm was
conceived
as
four-phased
a
campaign, the first three phases overlapped to the point that
The results of the coordinated
they were nearly simultaneous.
air campaign was that when the ground offensive began in midit met with minimal resistance.
February,
D.
SUMMARY
In
the Gulf war,
the
impact
of
air power was
clearly
Its contribution to the overall victory was such
decisive.
that the ground campaign quickly swept from Saudi Arabia to
the Euphrates River in 100 hours with an unbelievably low
casualty, rate.
potential
and
At
long
fulfilled
last,
air power
promises
the
lived up
made
the
by
to
its
early
prophets of air power.
For an air power advocate,
war
was
against
the
extensive
targets
they
use
are
of
the real breakthrough in the
precision
effective
guided munitions
against.
Even
though
precision guided munitions were employed during the Vietnam
War,
with a few exceptions,
there just were not
that many
targets that an accurate bomb was going to make a difference
against.
The importance of Air Power in future conflicts will
43
be determined largely by whether decisive precision targets
will exist.
Before
I
push the case for air power too far, the need for
precision targets highlights
exists
some
the
of
over whether air power alone
controversy that
can win
A
the war.
special circumstance existed that made possible the success of
air power in the Persian Gulf.
Gulf is nearly ideal
The terrain in the Persian
for offensive air operations.
It
is
nearly perfectly flat with little to no vegetation for an
enemy to hid in.
job much
Intelligence assets were able to locate and identify
easier.
fixed
This made the strike planner's
targets
with
relative
ease.
Unfortunately,
this
condition is not a constant throughout the world, an obvious
example is the terrain found in the former Yugoslavia.
Also, the hunt for the Scud missile launchers highlighted
another issue that may limit the effectiveness of air power in
a
future
conflict.
Precision
guided
munitions
allow
an
aircraft to be more effective against targets the pilot can
find.
Unfortunately,
there is still a problem with finding
the target in the first place.
A problem exists in finding
mobile targets with current intelligence assets, even with the
given terrain advantages found in the Gulf region.
The elusive nature of the Scuds will convince any future
opponent
to
increase
their
inventory
of
mobile
systems.
Unless we pay particular attention to this issue and improve
our intelligence capability to find relocatable targets, air
44
power may be less decisive in the next conflict.
increasingly evident
become
mobile.
The
performance
if
strategic
power
air
of
This will
targets
may
are made
restricted
be
because intelligence simply may not be effective enough.
Even in the face of the previous limitations to air power,
it is now obvious bombing alone can win a war.
There is no
longer any doubt that technology has finally validated air
power theory and that one can suggest that air power will play
a
dominant
role in modern war.
However,
it
should not be
forgotten that the air war will be part of a much larger,
land,
sea
chapter
and air
examines
offensive.
the
role
U.S.
In
this
Naval
context,
the
next
power
can
play
air
because of the existence of precision guided munitions.
45
IV.
THE IMPACT ON NAVAL AIR POWER
The end of the Cold War has markedly changed the emphasis
in all warfare areas.
Regional power projection has taken on
increased importance since the decline of the Soviet Union.
As recently as five years ago,
Ant i- Submarine Warfare
(ASW)
was the primary warfare area emphasis for the United States
Navy.
The U.S. Navy's priorities have changed, the spotlight
now shines on a different warfare specialty.
The collapse of
the Soviet Union has diminished many warfare areas which were
specifically tuned to the Soviet threat.
A reexamination of
future scenarios which the Navy may face, has brought power
projection, or Strike Warfare to the forefront.
The capability of the fleet to project power to foreign
shores has grown in recent years.
Early capabilities of naval
fleets to project power were limited to the range of the guns
on a given naval platform.
aerial strike warfare.
World War II introduced fixed wing
Battle fleet commanders could now use
carrier based aircraft to deliver ordnance on foreign shores.
Although Doolittle's raid on Tokyo achieved
morale than it did in a tactical sense,
it
more for U.S.
underscored the
capability of carriers to strike deep and deliver ordnance on
enemy territory.
The ability to attack foreign shores without
occupying territory highlighted the versatility and autonomy
46
of the aircraft carrier and its embarked airwing and marks the
origins of naval air power.
Since
the
considerable
resources
deliver ordnance,
on
nuclear,
in
War
the
fixed
wing
fleet
has
aircraft
invested
for
power
This effort has resulted in an impressive ability
projection.
to
World
Second
enemy
both conventional
territory.
and until
Equally
recently
important,
capability was independent of any host nation support.
World War II,
this
Since
the Navy has produced a proud legacy of fixed
wing attack aircraft. 56
Today,
the F/A-18 and the A-6, with
their myriad of munitions, are the mainstay of the fixed wing
attack community.
In addition to the impressive capability of
assets,
the Navy has developed another method of delivering
ordnance on target,
(TLAM)
.
concept.
fixed wing
the Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile
The development of the cruise missile was not a novel
The idea of a cruise missile is as old as the German
VI rockets of WWII.
The concept of a long range unmanned
autonomous strike vehicle impressed many U.S. war officials.
Immediately after the war,
aggressive
the United states
commenced an
cruise missile development program of
56
its
own.
The first dedicated attack aircraft was the Al-D
introduced into the fleet in July of 1944.
The next attack
It was introduced into the fleet in
aircraft was the A3-D.
March 1956.
The A4-D1 was introduced into the inventory in
October 1956. The A-6 was introduced into the fleet in April
1960.
In the spring of 1968 the Navy introduced the A-7A.
The Navy's newest attack aircraft, the F/A-18 was introduced
into the fleet in May 1980.
47
Using the German rockets as models,
the Navy developed two
cruise missiles of it's own, the Regulus
I
and II.
Although
cruise missiles were kept operational into the early 1970
's,
they lacked the operational reliability and the accuracy which
ballistic
missiles
offered
and
were
subsequently
discontinued. 57
The new generation of cruise missiles (TLAM's and TASM's)
have slowly evolved into weapon systems which can accurately
deliver
substantial
packages
ordnance
approximately 600 miles. 58
to
ranges
of
Although they had been introduced
into the fleet in the early 1980'
s,
cruise missiles remained
untested in combat for almost ten years.
The first use of
cruise missiles in combat took place in Iraq on January 16,
Cruise missiles, along with F-117 stealth aircraft were
1991.
used during
command
the
and
installations.
opening
control
salvos
of
headquarters
Desert
and
Storm to
key
attack
governmental
Although the effectiveness individual cruise
missile attacks are still being evaluated, the value of the
cruise missile as a power projection weapon is indisputable.
57
Ronald Huisken, The Origin of The
Missile (New York: Preager, 1981)
p. 17.
Strategic
Cruise
.
58
The Tomahawk cruise missile has two conventional warhead
variants. The conventional missile warhead is a 1000 lb Bull
Pup warhead.
In addition to the conventional warhead, the
The missile
missile can also deploy a submunition package.
flies a preprogrammed course placing the warhead on target
with great accuracy or deploying a bomblet package over a
designated area.
48
Advanced
unmanned
systems.
Some
accuracy,
others
outlined
the
targets
to
uses
more
are
weapon's
a
both
for
sensitive
pay load.
weapon
manned
advanced
complement
systems
to
weapon's
a
Henry
systems;
S.
Rowen
"their
use
[missiles] should presumably be reserved for critical periods
for targets especially difficult for aircraft to handle.
The
cheaper missiles can be made, the less binding the constraint.
Aircraft should be assigned principally to
expected attrition,
payloads,
and
3)
uncertainty." 59
targets with low
1)
targets which require large delivered
2)
targets
which
true
issue,
The
have
location
some
from
an
operator's
perspective, is to assure a target's destruction or render it
inoperable with as little risk as possible.
The result is
that the selection of weapons for a target is dependent upon
that target's defenses.
The primary advantage of precision
guided munitions (PGM's) is they can destroy a target with a
minimum of weapons.
force maxim of
In essence they exploit the economy of
warfare.
importance
The
of
this
fact
is
PGM's question the reasons why
relevant to naval air power.
naval air power is not an integral portion of any conventional
strategic air campaign.
The issue of the limited fire power
available to naval air power,
because of a ship's magazine
longer valid.
Naval air power can make an
capacity,
important
is no
contribution
to
any
future
bombing
strategic
59
Henry S. Rowen, The Future of Cruise Missiles
(Marina
del Rey, California:
Pan Heuristics/RDA, 1980). pp. 21, 23.
,
49
6
campaign; in some cases it may be the only way to get the job
done.
A.
THREAT SCENARIOS
In
both the
fixed wing and cruise missile
realm,
the
"threat" has played an important role in the development of
weapon systems.
development
of
The Cold War fueled the need for the Navy's
attack vehicles.
The
current- inventory of
aircraft and cruise missiles reflects the difficult task of
penetrating the Soviet Union's anti air warfare (AAW) systems
and delivering ordnance on Soviet soil.
is
designed
aircraft.
to
be
an
all
weather,
For example, the Aday
or
night
strike
It was designed to penetrate Soviet AAW defenses by
flying a low, terrain hugging profile in any type of weather.
Initially,
the Soviet
the cruise missile was developed to compete with
anti-ship cruise missile.
Later,
expanded to include a land attack version.
its
role was
Because of the
diminished threat from the Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS),
the U.S. Navy can no longer hinge its entire threat
projections or procurement strategy on the familiar mission of
power projection into the Soviet Union.
The old strategy dealt with the Soviet Navy and mainland
air defenses.
The new strategy must
focus on contingency
operations against an assortment of enemies, in any region of
the globe.
Although there are no direct military threats to
50
United
the
States,
threats
to
our
national
interest
are
increasing in many regions of the globe.
Although the need to project power deep into the Soviet
Union
is
no
aspects of
longer
a
pressing military requirement,
many
the power projection problem have remained the
Much of the equipment which the CIS produced has been
same.
sold to other countries, many of them unstable "third world"
nations in volatile regions of the world.
Additionally, the
proliferation of Western advanced weapon systems compounds the
problem.
None of these countries or any of the theorized third
world scenarios present the vast array of AAW systems deployed
in the former Soviet Union.
However, many of these countries
already possess enough pieces of the old Soviet AAW network to
complicate an otherwise easy strike warfare mission.
The
current economic conditions throughout the former Soviet Union
lend credence to the stipulation that some of the more up-todate models may be up for sale as well.
Soviets are a diminished threat,
equipment
and Western
equipment
threats throughout the world. 60
So,
although the
the proliferation of their
has
created
other
viable
The need for a robust power
projection capability has not diminished, in fact many contend
that it has increased.
60
According to Janes Weapons Systems some of the Soviet
AAW systems which are in third world inventories include: SACIS and Syria; SA-6, CIS and "others";
SA-2, CIS and
5,
"others"; SA-3, CIS and others.
,
51
In
any anticipated power projection scenario,
the Navy
will rely on both strike aircraft and cruise missile assets
presumably
used
scenario.
The uncertainty and instability inherent in many
in
a
complementary
way
dependent
on
the
regions requires extensive military planning for contingency
strike missions.
strike
remain,
If the basic guidelines from the Gulf War
missions
must
be
planned
for
maximum
effectiveness against the target and equally important, must
minimize collateral damage to civilians.
Missions for both of these weapons systems must emphasize
flexibility and accuracy in order to handle a wide range of
contingencies
climates.
in
a
variety of
environmental
and political
Strike missions will be conventional responses with
limited military objectives.
They will be required to engage
high tech mobile defenses, and will require increased accuracy
to minimize U.S.
Once the decision to use strike
losses.
forces has been made, appropriate targets could include enemy
C3 assets, leadership, supporting military industries, as well
as conventional military targets.
In addition, strike forces
could be tasked to perform preemptive strikes
designed to
incapacitate an aggressor's offensive military capabilities
before hostilities begin.
Another mission which will occupy a prominent role in any
strike
planning
folder
is
the
destruction
relocatable targets of a strategic nature.
launchers,
both mobile and fixed,
52
of
fixed
or
Ballistic missile
and nuclear,
chemical and
biological
weapons
prominent
A third strike mission would be the destruction of
.
enemy shipping.
processing plants
are
two
the
of
most
For the foreseeable future, fixed wing attack
aircraft and cruise missiles will be the basis for the Navy's
power projection forces. 61
This
paper
examines
technologies
the
which effect these two weapon systems.
and
developments
Emerging technologies
significantly influence these weapon platforms; however, the
political and economic climate may be a greater influence on
each
of
these
systems
This
technology.
than
evaluation
considers the cost of these new systems in only a broad sense.
Predicting future military appropriations is an impossible
however,
task;
cost
with
ratios
technologies can be considered.
respect
existing
to
The technological innovations
which are examined are all evolutionary vice revolutionary in
nature.
B.
CARRIER BASED STRIKE AIRCRAFT
U.S. military strategy is based upon three fundamentals:
deterrence,
solidarity.
a
rapid
The
U.S.
response
Navy
and
alliance
forward
offensive
crisis
to
supports
a
strategy to achieve both a deterrent and a quick reaction
strike capability.
Specifically,
61
one or
several
carrier
From an interview with Dr. James Brooke, Strategic
Planning Departmenthead, Convair Cruise Missile Division, by
LCDR Sam Perez, 24 February 1992, Monterey, California.
53
battle groups would deploy to a region which experienced a
crisis affecting U.S. interests.
a
carrier
group
battle
to
The inherent flexibility of
operations
conduct
against
a
belligerent gives the United States a credible response to any
regional crisis located near a coastline (within approximately
10
miles) without having to rely on basing agreements.
The
include
chief
functions
combat
"attack
against
land
of
carrier battle
a
well
targets... as
superiority in the area of operations."
group
as
air
The battle group
commander has two strike options at his disposal, a Tomahawk
Land Attack Missile
airwing.
or
(TLAM)
Aviation has
the
an
strike made
air
ability
unique
to
by
the
concentrate
firepower rapidly at the critical place and time, which allows
exploitation of the economy of force maxim.
The two strike
systems allow a commander to utilize the strengths of each one
The advantages of TLAM against
in a combined arms effort.
heavily defended fixed point targets will be discussed later.
The airwing 's strength is to penetrate a moderately defended
area or point target with assured destruction.
The primary-
advantage lies in the myriad of weapons the strike aircraft
can
deliver,
which
can
be
tailored
to
assure
target's
a
destruction.
In order to conduct air operations, the carrier's embarked
airwing
fighters
attack
around
totals
(F-14)
(A-6)
,
24
90
light
aircraft
with
aircraft,
attack
(F/A-18),
comprising
54
approximately
the
and
10
strike
24
medium
force.
Antisubmarine
electronic
warfare,
tankers
warfare,
and
airborne early warning aircraft support the strike force and
make up the remainder of
crisis,
During a regional
the airwing.
the carrier airwing is undoubtedly the most visible
and potent response possessed by the United States and the
least intrusive until called into use.
The
carrier
battle
group
will
continue
remain
to
integral part of any power projection operation.
an
The concern
is how well the airwing can perform the strike mission in the
future.
An assessment of the Navy's carrier based air strike
capability
concentrates
weapon systems.
it
on
the
F/A-18
and
its
associated
The A-6, for the most part, is ignored since
represents
older
technology,
but
impact
the
of
the
aircraft's age on the strike mission is discussed in detail.
The F/A-18 Hornet is an all weather multi-mission single
pilot high performance fighter/attack aircraft.
The pilot
operates the aircraft with the aid of a digital flight control
computer and a mission computer.
of
1.8 Mach,
The Hornet has a top speed
thanks to its twin 16000 pound thrust General
Electric F4 04 engines, and can sustain high aerodynamic loads
in
excess
aircraft
increases
of
7
equates
the
The
G's.
to
a
dual
nature
better war
flexibility
of
a
capability
fighting
response
to
of
the
capability and
any
threat.
62
"Kenneth Kendall, "Electronic advances on the F/A-li
National Defense May- June 1983, pp. 22-23.
Hornet,"
,
55
Unfortunately, this dual capability is attained by sacrificing
combat range.
The APG-65 radar is the heart of the weapon system.
can
track
multiple
airborne
provide
and
targets
It
highly
accurate release solutions for the myriad of air to ground
weapon
systems
employed by
the
Hornet.
APG-65
The
is
a
digital radar able to provide the pilot with navigational and
targeting
information.
The
radar
employs
high
a
pulse
repetition frequency (PRF) for a long range search capability
at
ranges
in
excess
of
100
miles and ranging
delivery against targets within 50 miles. 63
of the F/A-18's sensors,
for weapons
The combination
the laser spot tracker, the forward
looking infra-red (FLIR) and the APG-65, allows the pilot to
automatically compute air to surface ranging data for targets
obscured by weather or darkness.
Self-protection and warning equipment outfitted in the
F/A-18 include:
counter
the ALR-67 radar warning receiver, the ALE-3 9
measures
dispenser,
and
electronic countermeasures system.
the
AN/ALQ-12 6
defensive
The ALR-67 detects radar
guided threats and displays them visually to the pilot.
The
other systems operate in a variety of ways to increase the
aircraft's survivability in a high threat environment. 64
"James B. Shultz, "Marines Put F/A-18 's to the Test,"
Defense Electronics November, 1983, p. 111.
,
64
Ibid,
p.
110.
56
The most important electronic advancement incorporated in
F/A-18
the
controls
is
the
the
management
stores
aircraft's
deployment
weapons and external stores.
system
its
of
which
(SMS)
array
vast
of
The system is a state of the art
digital avionics computer with the flexibility to add future
weapon systems with only a software change.
The SMS not only
allows the pilot to release munitions, but it does it in an
aerodynamical ly balanced manner.
inventory of stores,
types,
system maintains
The
status,
quantities,
locations,
an
special conditions for release sequencing and displays this
information to the pilot.
The result is a reduction in the
pilot's work load in flight through automation in the control
of
a
weapon's
release
fuzing,
sequence,
and any interface
requirement with a smart weapon. 65
The
Hornet
sophisticated
as
a
package
technology,
but
is
an
impressive
several
criteria
explored prior to a judgement on effectiveness.
array
of
must
be
One primary
consideration of the effectiveness of a strike aircraft is the
range the aircraft
can
fly with a
specific payload.
The
effectiveness of PGM's suggest the lower number of weapons
represent the most appropriate point for comparison.
important considerations include survivability,
and
maintainability.
6S
The
combination
Kenneth Kendall, pp. 22-23
57
of
Other
reliability
these
criterion
produce the overall effectiveness of an airwing's ability to
conduct a strike mission.
The major drawback to the Hornet is its strike radius,
without
any
inflight
Once
refueling.
ranges
exceed
approximately 600 miles the F/A-18 requires inflight refueling
to execute its mission without reducing its payload.
In the
attack mission the limited range is augmented with the use of
inflight refueling and/or external fuel tanks.
The aircraft's
capability to deliver munitions accurately compensates for its
ordnance quantity limitation.
Precision
guided
munitions
compensate even further for the Hornet's range limitations.
A comparison in the maximum ranges for each of the two
primary attack aircraft, on a high-low-high profile with 1000
pound Mk-83 bombs, yields the following information:
LOAD
Mk-83
6 MK-83
9 Mk-83
12 Mk-83
F/A-18
A-6
1000
706
630
495
359
4
950
775
600
Source:
U.S. Congressional Budget office, Costs of
Modernizing the Navy's Carrier Based Air Forces P. 43.
,
An immediate observation is that the A-6 has more range than
However, even though the Hornet
the F-18 at any weapons load.
cannot
achieve 'the
ranges
impressive range with either
Hornet's
range
limitation
the
of
4
or
is
6
A-6,
Mk 83s.
it
does
have
an
The affect of the
much mitigated with
today's
inventory of precision guided munitions which equate to one
58
bomb per target and allow us to utilize the lowest number of
weapons in the loadout
.
-
The Hornet's survivability and agility /maneuverability is
a
marked improvement over the performance of the A-6.
The
combination of the aircraft's strengths make the Hornet the
most
flexible
current
and potent
problems with
asset
A-6's
the
the
in
attack
The
role.
life without
service
any
replacement in the near future imply a heavier reliance will
be placed upon the F/A-18
complete the strike mission.
to
Unfortunately, the aircraft was not designed to have the range
or bad weather penetrating characteristics of a medium attack
aircraft.
The range limitation is the most serious of the two
problems.
If the Navy is to retain a deep strike capability
and
participate
fully
replacement
for
maintain
credible
a
the
in
strategic
a
aging A-6
long
required if
is
range
air
strike
campaign,
a
the Navy
is
against
capability
targets which a TLAM is ineffective.
The
combined
effect
of
technology
upon
carrier
the
airwing, both now and in the near future, has created a potent
strike force able to complete surgical strike missions.
Naval
aviation is clearly a major player in the completion of any
strike mission today.
the
The airwing can complete the mission in
future only with the continued development of priority
weapon systems.
The development of new strike aircraft is
necessary only for the medium attack role.
complete
the
light
attack
mission
59
for
the
The F/A-18 can
next
2
years
without a replacement, but the A-6 needs a replacement now.
Exactly when a replacement will become operational is anyone's
guess, but it should exploit the advantages offered by stealth
technology.
Today
the
aircraft
delivered weapons
use
for
in
land
attack consist of several technologically advanced weapons.
Walleye (an electro-optically guided glide bomb)
Stand
the
Bombs,
Off
Attack
Land
Missile
,
(SLAM:
incorporates GPS for mid-course guidance and an
guidance)
terminal
missiles-ARM'
S)
,
,
Shrike
Harm
and
Laser Guided
IF,
which
sensor for
(anti-radiation
and others make up the current inventory of
smart weapons which can be used in a strike mission.
The
scientific community developed the technology incorporated by
these weapons in the 1960
's
and 1970
since to improve their capabilities.
and have worked ever
's
The systems which exist
today represent evolutionary "state of the art" improvements
incorporated in the
The
weapons
drawbacks.
3
in
year development of these technologies.
the
inventory
today
LGB's are unusable against
a
all
have
their
weather obscured
target and their effectiveness is degraded by haze and smoke.
Any electro-optically (EO) guided munitions, like Walleye, has
the same weather restrictions as LGB's.
An added complication
is the issue of Walleye's reliability which is questionable.
The
newer
EO
weapons,
like
SLAM,
do
have
increased
reliability but their small numbers in the inventory makes the
However, the assembly line for
Walleye the primary EO system.
60
Walleye
I
and II has been closed for some time and weapons in
the inventory have been on the shelf for quite a while, some
since the mid-1970
's.
Experience with Walleye suggest a major
limitation exists for sophisticated weapons; shelf life and
reliability are inversely related.
The problem becomes more
severe and will affect other "smart" systems in the future if
budgetary constraints force a longer shelf life.
Solid state
electronics and on the shelf testing can reduce the problem,
but the rate of failure for any given weapon will increase
with age.
Developments in the tactical aircraft and sophisticated
weapons
have
been
incremental
than
rather
revolutionary.
However, the incremental developments in the field of weapons
technology,
by
the
very
magnitude
of
their
increased
capability, do have a revolutionary impact upon warfare.
The
key contributing technologies are microelectronics, aerospace,
composite
materials,
telecommunications.
and
energy,
Developments within these fields include:
powerful imbedded
computers, the size of a small chip, which will be standard in
modern weapon systems; significant aerospace gains, to include
extension of range, duration of flight, reliability, stealth
capabilities, stand-off detection, and stand-off targeting at
substantially
greater
ranges.
One
of
the
most
dramatic
improvements has been the in the area of weapons accuracy, the
ability now exists to target precision guided munitions at
long ranges with pinpoint accuracy.
61
.
In broad concept,
the new weapon systems employing these
third generation technologies are able to inflict substantial
damage upon any opposition.
range,
The combination of
increased
accuracy and penetration capabilities of new weapon
systems enhances military effectiveness at the strategic and
tactical
levels
warfare.
of
significantly enhanced lethality reduces:
(which
increases
survivability)
required to ensure a
target's
logistic requirements.
accuracy
Pinpoint
the
,
aircraft sorties
amount
in
of
ordnance
and associated
destruction,
The jump
and
capability mandates a
review of current tactics and strategy to exploit these new
weapon systems and stealth technology properly. One aspect is
certain,
the post 1992 generation of weapons will include a
new family of gravity bombs, some with guidance systems, one
or two new weapons for stand off attacks from both point and
area defenses and a small family of antiradiation missiles for
the suppression of enemy air defenses
(SEAD)
The application- of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in
both aircraft and munitions is a dramatic increase in existing
capability.
Current
aircraft
navigation systems
average of 0.5 to 1.5 miles per hour.
be updated inflight but
system.
the drift
drift
The systems today can
remains
internal
to
GPS equipped aircraft have an accurate drift
navigation
system
and
have
a
significant
successful execution of any strike.
62
an
edge
in
the
free
the
GPS assists a pilot in
.
locating a target and allows for the attack of known fixed
targets by bombing strictly on coordinates.
The largest drawback to GPS is that the system requires
about
seconds to establish a geographical
2
fix,
about
2
The GPS signal from the satellites is constant but
seconds.
current hardware updates geographical positions periodically
and not constantly.
time of
short
The difficulty is its inapplicability to
fall /flight
The current programs
ordnance.
under development include placing GPS into free fall gravity
bombs
and
cruise
Munitions
missiles.
release
above
approximately 20,000 feet would be required to meet the 20
second requirement.
Unfortunately naval tactical aviation
does not
currently use high altitude bombing as a primary
tactic.
A separate issue is the subject of mobile targets
which require a different type of sensor to obtain precision
accuracy.
The current projects under joint development are the Joint
Standoff Weapon (JSOW) and the Joint Directed Aided Munitions
(JDAM)
.
The
two
programs
incorporate
state
of
the
art
guidance technology and are evolutionary developments of LGB's
The infusion of technology into the munitions
and Walleye.
field enables these new precise weapons to utilize more than
one
sensor
to
discriminate
a
target.
The
result
is
an
increased all weather capability which negates the degradation
of
the
previously mentioned
systems
smoke
63
to
weather,
haze
and
The
JSOW
is
a
non-powered
inertial
aided
munitions.
Navigation is provided by a GPS aided ring laser navigation
system and an onboard digital computer. 66
has two payloads
The weapon system
Either a unitary warhead or a series of
.
BLU-108 submunitions can be delivered to a target.
Terminal
guidance is anticipated to be an Imaging Infrared seeker.
The anticipated standoff range keeps the delivery aircraft out
of range of area and point air defense systems.
The baseline
model consists of two versions which will deliver submunitions
into an area to destroy mobile targets.
The JDAM program is simply a kit designed to augment the
current
gravity
bomb
family. 67
The
program
incorporates
inertial navigation to improve weapon accuracy if a target's
position is known.
Short time of fall weapons will use a GPS
update from the delivery platform but does not use GPS for
navigation.
Instead,
a
laser gyro provides
ring
navigation to the munitions.
inertial
The resulting system drift is
negligible with a short time of fall release, current releases
rarely exceed a
10
second time of
fall.
The
significant
improvement is the incorporation of a second sensor into the
weapon.
Currently a variety of sensors are being examined,
their cost effectiveness appears to be the primary decision
66
AIRTEVRON FIVE Briefing Notes, "Concept of Operations
for the Joint Standoff Weapon System," November, 25, 1992.
67
The information regarding JDAM is drawn from CAF 401-91Joint CAF/USN Requirements Document for Joint Direct
Attack Munitions (JDAM) Program.
I-A,
64
.
The four most prominent are either a millimeter wave,
factor.
a synthetic aperture radar, a conventional radar, or an infra-
red
sensor. 68
allows
The
incorporation of
delivery against
a
any
of
known target
a
these
sensors
obscured in bad
weather conditions or by smoke.
weapon
The
system is
designed
for
missions
against
a
target defended by moderate close in anti-aircraft weapons.
Currently, operational testing of JDAM is achieving accuracies
similar to Tomahawk's.
Additionally, JDAM's warhead possesses
similar performance characteristics to Tomahawk's.
The system
allows the planner a low cost option to TLAMs for use against
lower threat targets, the intent is to reserve TLAMs for the
heavily defended, high threat,
approach
found
is
in
the
targets.
cost
The logic for this
comparison between the two
weapons
Phase
I
of JDAM is the development of the basic guided
munitions and has been completed with a cost per copy of
40,000 dollars. 69
Phase II and III, the development of a new
high explosive and the incorporation of a second sensor, are
still in the formative stages but the estimated cost of all
three
stages
of
dollars per copy.
development
is
estimated at
On the other hand,
68
100
thousand
the average cost of a
George Leopold, "Military Focuses on Sensors, Target
Recognition," Defense News, February 8-14, 1993, Vol. 8 No.
5,
pp.
69
12-13.
CAF 401-91-I-A, p.
3.
65
Tomahawk is between $800,000 to $1,000,000.
weapon basis,
caveats
JDAM is
this
to
On a cost per
clearly the weapon of
point
are
the
choice.
possibility
The
aircraft
of
attrition must be minimal and/or the cost of a TLAM is not
significantly reduced.
The most impressive advances in weapons technology is in
the area of
The necessity to penetrate an
smart weapons.
enemy's air defenses is getting more difficult as defensive
systems
become
more
advanced.
The
evolution
smart
of
precision guided weapons and aircraft have been to counter
these
higher
technology
defensive
Today,
systems.
capability exists for aircraft to create
a
the
sanctuary within
which they can operate in this hostile environment.
The
development
the
of
naval
air
power
has
reactive
been
increased capabilities in defensive systems.
to
The associated
technology has developed in a logical and incremental manner
to
encompass the current
"state of the art"
systems.
The
capabilities the airwing possesses in precision accuracy, and
will
possess
in
the
ensures
future,
that
naval
tactical
aviation remains a participant in any future strike scenario.
C.
CRUISE MISSILES
Many Navy officials, both civilian and uniformed, realized
a
requirement for cruise missiles in the 1960's.
1966,
then Secretary of the Navy Paul
H.
As early as
Nitze agreed to a
proposal submitted by Captains Zumwalt and Bagley which laid
66
.
the
groundwork
Submarine
for
adoption
eventual
Navy's
the
Launched Cruise Missile
70
(SLCM)
'
of
the
However,
the
leadership within the Navy was undecided on the idea of a
cruise missile.
Since WW II, the "carrier admirals" had risen
to ascendance and had pushed the carrier and its associated
airwing
the
as
primary
submarine
forces,
submarine
launched
with
weapon
system
advent
the
ballistic
in
were
The
Navy.
nuclear
of
missiles,
stature within the Naval hierarchy.
the
power
and
gaining
new
The "surface admirals"
were in no position to influence significant projects without
the
aid
of
either
of
other
the
two
factions
or
another
powerful driver.
The actual conception of the Tomahawk cruise missile was
a
result
of
the
collaboration between
the
Chief
of
Naval
Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and Defense Secretary Melvin
Laird.
The CNO wanted to develop a tactical ant i -ship cruise
missile while the Secretary of Defense wanted to develop a
strategic cruise missile to use in the Salt negotiations. 71
New technological developments enabled the new missile to
achieve greater ranges and accuracies than the older 1950
versions.
The
new gas
turbine
technology
engine
70
's
enabled
Robert J. Art and Stephen E. Ockenden, "The Domestic
Politics of Cruise Missile Development, 1970-1980, " in Cruise
Missiles Technology, Strategy, Politics
ed. by Richard K.
Betts (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1981), p.
,
381.
71
Art and Ockenden, p.
3
84.
67
engineers
use cheap
to
light
turbofan or turbojet
engines
which could achieve ranges in excess of 2000 kilometers.
addition,
the
new microelectronics
technology
In
aircraft
in
guidance and inertial navigation was easily adaptable to the
new missiles and enabled the missiles
to
reach accuracies
which could not be achieved by any other existing missiles.
These developments made the new missile extremely attractive
to both the Secretary of Defense and the CNO.
the
Secretary
of
directed the
Defense
strategic cruise missile in June of 1972
stages of development,
delicate
matter.
the
Parker,
Principal
development
.
of
the
Even in the early
cruise missile rationalization was a
When
development
driving
As a result,
asked whether
of
the
there
was
cruise missile,
a
threat
Robert
N.
Deputy Director of Defense Research and
Engineering, answered: "No threat, but a real need considering
both the tactical and the strategic requirements." 72
D.
DESERT STORM CRUISE MISSILE LESSONS LEARNED
Although Tomahawk cruise missiles had been deployed to the
fleet for several years, Desert Storm was the first time the
Navy fired TLAMs in combat.
Even though the operational tests
were extremely promising, few commanders had the confidence or
practical knowledge necessary to employ Tomahawk effectively.
72
U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services. Research and Development Subcommittee, 94th Cong., 1st Sess., 17
March 1976, pp. 6201.
68
Commanders lacked confidence in the cruise missile and its
ability to deliver ordnance accurately. 73
They had
to
be
convinced that cruise missiles could be used effectively under
Initially, many commanders and their
real combat conditions.
staffs were reluctant
use cruise missiles
to
against high
priority targets unless sufficient numbers were allocated. 74
Tomahawk's performance during Desert Storm permanently erased
Although TLAM employment highlighted both the
any doubts.
strengths
and
weaknesses
the
of
new
strengths far outweighed the weaknesses
to
TLAM are
using
these
lessons
.
weapon
the
system,
Current improvements
learned
to
guide
future
These lessons can be grouped
upgrades to cruise missiles.
into three categories, mission planning, missile utility, and
battle damage assessment.
The sudden Iraqi invasion of Kuwait highlighted a crucial
weakness
in
cruise missile
mission planning.
employment,
the
time
the
Cruise
of
There were no missions planned for either
Kuwait or Iraq at the beginning of the conflict. 75
of
delay
Missile
Support
required Terrain Contour Mapping
Activities
(TERCOM)
(CMSA)
Neither
had
or Digital
the
Scene
Mapping Area Correlator (DSMAC) scenes for mission planning.
As
a
result,
the
first
TLAM missions
73
could not
From an interview with LCDR Sam Perez,
Monterey, California.
74
Ibid.
75
Ibid.
69
02
have been
June 19 92,
.
delivered
theater
in
had
promptly,
not
opening
the
of
hostilities been delayed for almost six months. 76
A separate issue associated with planning cruise missile
during
strikes
War
Gulf
the
was
lack
the
available to the on-scene commander.
of
expertise
Few people on CENTCOM
staff had any practical experience with cruise missiles.
The
staff was unfamiliar with either the requirements for a cruise
missile
strike,
thought
that
capabilities
the
or
could
missiles
cruise
weapon.
the
of
brought
be
to
Many
bear
immediately.
Others believed that cruise missiles were of
little
practical
no
or
realized
that
use
missile
cruise
Kuwait
the
in
targeting
theater.
was
an
Few
extremely
complicated process which would require extensive time and
resources
Targeting
The
process.
analysis
for
of
any
first
the
strike
step
mission
for
mission
any
is
a
sophisticated
targeteer is a thorough
objectives.
The
targeteer must
familiarize himself with all applicable OPLANs and with the
strategic concepts germane to the conflict.
is the selection of appropriate targets.
a
fundamental
objectives.
grasp
of
both
the
The second step
Again, this requires
tactical
and
strategic
The next step is choosing the appropriate weapon.
Weaponeers must be consulted in order to determine target
76
The information is from the notes of a brief by James
Adams, LDCR USN, "Strike Warfare Architecture," obtained from
LCDR Sam Perez, 6 April 1992, Monterey, California.
70
vulnerabilities to various weapons.
The selected targets can
then be matched up to corresponding availability of weapons.
Following the selection of the appropriate warhead/ weapon, the
planner
then
appropriate
decides
for
the
which delivery platform is
mission.
The
planner
the
takes
most
into
consideration the degree of control required for the mission,
whether or not the risk of collateral damage exists and is a
significant issue, and to what degree risks to U.S. personnel
can be accepted.
The strike planner then determines which
routes will be used and for cruise missile strikes whether
TERCOM and DSMAC
assets
navigation aides,
and launch points must also be carefully
during
considered
this
are
available.
process.
The
targeting process is mission assessment.
Target
final
defenses,
step
in
the
The targeteer must
utilize various assets to determine whether or not the attack
was successful.
The current method for planning cruise missile strikes
involves a complicated procedure which is not controlled by
the
tactical
commander.
The
procedure
requires
coordination and compilation of data by the CMSA.
the
In order
for a targeting package to be generated, a unit must request
a targeting
package from their respective CMSA.
The CMSA will
then gather data from the Defense Mapping Agency
both
the
TERCOM navigation
system and the
71
DSMAC
(DMA)
for
terminal
guidance system. 77
In order to construct a mission profile,
the CMSA must first have the requisite information.
They must
have accurate terrain maps available to identify the pre-
determined points along the missile's flight path and current
imagery for DSMAC.
If the data is available,
the process can
be completed in a relatively short period, but it is still a
time consuming process.
as
3
If not,
the process may take as long
Even if the information is on hand, this
days to build.
time requirement places heavy restrictions on the tactical
utility of land attack cruise missiles.
as it exists today,
The cruise missile,
is not suitable to every scenario.
The effectiveness
of
land attack cruise missiles
is
a
function of warhead lethality and terminal guidance accuracy.
The precision of Tomahawk combined with the effects of a 1000
lb warhead enables the cruise missile planner to engage a wide
variety of targets.
However, in order to obtain the required
accuracy, each target set must be supported by a specific pre-
planned mission.
During Desert Storm, cruise missiles were utilized against
command
and
control
centers,
electrical
power
information control and processing facilities,
nuclear processing plants,
plants,
chemical and
and other supporting industries,
such as oil and production facilities.
77
Although these targets
John Haystead, "Autonomous Weapons -Are We Smart Enough
for Them?," Defense Electronics, February 1992, Vol. 24, No.
2
pp 31-32.
.
,
72
were effectively engaged, there were other targets which could
not be engaged by cruise missiles.
The dependence of the cruise missile on fixed waypoints
for guidance information makes it unable to engage relocatable
targets.
be
Because of their mobility, Scud launchers could not
targeted
by
cruise
missiles.
addition
In
mobile
to
targets, TLAMs were also ineffective against hardened bunkers.
Cruise missile warheads lack either the kinetic energy or a
sufficiently large warhead to penetrate and destroy hardened
personnel
bunkers.
Further,
if
surrounding
the
area
is
damaged by other strike assets, the DSMAC scene may be damaged
or
altered,
requiring
construction
of
another
targeting
package.
Another
restriction
to
cruise
missile
utility
the
is
inability to accurately predict their time of arrival on a
target.
This
restriction prevents
a
closely
cruise missile and fixed wing strike mission.
coordinated
Instead
,
the
current tactics call for fixed wing strikes to be preceded by
a cruise missile strike or they are conducted autonomously.
Another aspect of cruise missile utility is its ability to
Mission planning flexibility
engage different target sets.
and response time were the two of the most important areas
which needed improvement during Desert Storm cruise missile
operations.
Because cruise missile targeting is performed by
units which are not directly subordinated to the battle group
commander or the even the theater commander,
73
the response
times for mission planning are not necessarily compatible with
tactical timeline requirements.
The battle group commander
must have a system which he can program, target, utilize, and
evaluate
in
a
tactical
engagement.
system must
The
be
flexible enough to respond to changing tactical scenarios, and
The current cruise missile
even fluid strategic requirements.
targeting system is not suited for this type of short term
tactical environment.
agency which
The
supported
bulk
the
of
CMSA's
cruise
missile targeting requirements was the Defense Mapping Agency
the beginning of hostilities,
(DMA).
At
routes
were
overflight
available. 78
approval
Many
from adjacent
of
only six primary
routes
the
countries.
required
In order
to
support cruise missile operations for Desert Storm the DMA
mobilized
the most
3
desirable routes were unavailable due to lack of
terrain features or lack of information.
not
a
tactically
flexible weapons
Clearly,
this was
system which would lend
itself to theater or battle group level employment.
the new
Many of
shifts for round the clock operations.
improvements discussed in the next
However,
section enable
future cruise missiles to overcome these limitations.
78
Lengerich,
"TLAM Targeting During Desert Storm"
74
E.
TECHNOLOGICAL DRIVERS AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES
Both the mission planning and the missile utilization
problems are being addressed by new technological innovations.
The drivers
evolutionary
for these
improvements stem from a variety of
technological
and upgrades.
innovations
The
first of these innovations is the ability to miniaturize many
of the components used in the terminal guidance sensors.
The
miniaturization of the guidance section decreases the weight
of
the unit which increases the range of the missile.
The
second most important area of innovation is engine design and
The final area of improvement
alternate fuels utilization.
lies in the improvement of communications data links.
The most significant and immediate guidance innovation is
the addition of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) units to the
missile's guidance units.
which
derives
GPS is a satellite based system
accuracy
its
navigational satellites.
from
a
cluster
existing
of
The GPS precursor, TERCOM, requires
a certain amount of elevation change to function properly.
If
the terrain does not have the required variation in terrain
contour, alternate routes must be utilized.
The
incorporation of GPS will
importantly
Most
accuracy.
planning
timeline
guidance
units
79
to
are
John Haystead,
for Them?,
"
p.
as
not
it
little
increase overall
will
as
dependent
reduce
3
on
the
hours. 79
these
system
mission
The
GPS
geographic
"Autonomous Weapons-Are We Smart Enough
32.
75
limitations and allow the cruise missile to work in areas with
flat
terrain where radar altimeters do not provide enough
discrimination.
Terminal accuracy and flexibility are being improved by a
number of other technical innovations.
The first of these is
the development of Imaging Infrared Radar (I2R)
of
the
guidance.
leading
candidates
cruise
for
.
I2R is one
missile
terminal
In addition to its demonstrated accuracy, it is one
of the most mature systems in the development queue.
distinguish
between
2-D/3-D
and
features
It can
also
can
differentiate between various regions and boundaries which are
defined by contrasts.
is
affected
by
Although it is a leading candidate, I2R
weather,
and
is
susceptible
variability and reference adequacy.
other contending systems except DSMAC,
I2R,
to
like all
target
of
the
limits the missile's
terminal trajectory.
The
second
system
Aperture Radar (SAR)
.
under
consideration
is
Synthetic
This terminal seeker innovation is an
all weather unit with a significant range increase over all
other systems.
In addition to being costly, SAR technology is
not as mature as I2R technology,
increase in power.
It is also limited to specific terminal
Like I2R, SAR suffers from reference adequacy.
trajectories.
The
and requires a significant
missile's
reliability
is
therefore
dependent
upon
a
reflected signal from the target.
The nature of the target's
ability
influences
to
reflect
the
signal
76
the
range
of
.
.
acquisition of the target.
A reduced range of acquisition
decreases the likelihood of a cruise missile acquiring the
target
Laser Radar
(LADAR)
is
guidance unit which
terminal
a
offers a significant increase in accuracy.
It will be able to
distinguish 3-D and 2-D height specific targets.
it can utilize terrain elevation.
reference scene preparation.
LADAR also offers ease of
In addition,
it offers one of
LADAR suffers from
the highest probabilities of acquisition.
a lack of
Like DSMAC,
system maturity and high cost.
LADAR
In addition,
is also affected by weather and is susceptible to high power
requirements and stringent cooling requirements.
Real Beam Millimeter Wave
are
low
a
cost
applications.
accurate
On
systems.
significant
target
alternative
the
terminal guidance units
(MMW)
with
limited
other hand
it
addition,
MMW
In
type
one
is
of
guidance
and
limitations
all
weather
least
the
units
increase
have
missile
observability
The
final
guidance
system in consideration
cruise
for
missile upgrades is Forward Looking DSMAC, or DSMAC IIA.
system
is
a
low
cost
alternative
to
other
systems.
This
In
addition to expanding the scene availability and simplifying
mission planning, it also reduces diurnal and seasonal launch
restrictions.
Another
advantage
of
DSMAC
IIA
is
its
reliability and the ease of backfit with existing systems.
77
Like its predecessor, it can be affected by weather or target
definition.
incorporation
The
either
of
SAR,
or
LADAR,
I2R,
MMW
guidance units enhances the overall capability of the cruise
Tomahawks will be able to engage a larger set of
missile.
targets with better accuracy.
They will be able to engage
relocatable targets- such as ballistic missile launchers and
many other target sets which are not readily supported by
digital scene construction.
Although they will not be able to
penetrate super hardened bunkers, the increased accuracy will
enable the missile to destroy critical communications,
power
leading
sources
the missile will
Additionally,
from
and
to
no
and
bunker. 80
the
longer be restricted to
either a land or sea based mission.
The result is the cruise missile will become an even more
and capable flexible weapon system.
The increased flexibility
demands increased operator knowledge and familiarity but it
mean
does
dramatic
a
requirements.
reduction
The result
is
that
in
planning
the
time
the main restriction to
Tomahawk's real time use is no longer applicable.
In addition to increased accuracy, the new guidance units
will
enable
arrivals.
the
By
missile
to
achieve
precise
incorporating better navigational
precise timekeeping capabilities from GPS,
80
time
Brooke interview.
78
on
top
data
and
the new missiles
will be able to achieve precise arrival times at the target.
which
Missions
could
planned
be
not
due
imprecise
to
coordination of cruise missile attacks and fixed wing arrival
times
are now possible.
enables
This
enemy
air
defenses,
precision bombing missions.
significant
capability
fixed wing
freeing
assets
for
innovation represents
This
increase
to
Cruise missiles can
assume a leading edge strike posture.
attack
cruise missiles
in
combined
a
strike
arms
mission with fixed wing aircraft.
area
the
In
innovations
propulsion,
significant
offer
two
performance
significant
improvement
for
The first of these is the improvement in
cruise missiles.
engine designs.
missile
of
Light weight engines with increased thrust to
weight ratios have increased speed and altitude performance,
and
improved rates
performance
consumption.
fuels.
In
of
climb.
enable
will
In
addition,
significant
a
the
increased
decrease
fuel
in
The second innovation is the use of alternate
conjunction
with
the
improvement
in
engine
performance, alternate fuels will enable the new generation of
cruise missiles to achieve ranges in excess of 1000 NM.
In the strategic
sense,
the increase in range offers a
dramatic shift in cruise missiles utility.
current
tactical
usages,
the
extended range
cruise missile's strategic utility.
power
projection
important
part
capabilities
of
any
and
contingency
79
In addition to
increases
In all of
limitations
plan.
the
these areas
will
The
be
an
increased
performance of the engines makes all but a few regions of the
world accessible to cruise missile strikes.
cruise
missiles
instability.
was
can
utilized
be
Strategically,
almost
in
to
of
In the past, rapid power projection capability
centered around the carrier battle group.
addition
areas
all
tethering
carrier
battle
groups
Today,
to
in
certain
volatile regions of the world, the Joint Staff has now begun
tethering cruise missile platforms to certain regions. 81
In
conjunction with the carrier air wing, the theater commander
has cruise missiles available to plan a contingency operation.
The limitation of numbers afloat, or available to a commander,
remains and important issue.
But the high accuracy of both
manned and unmanned weapon systems reduces the impact of this
restriction.
The theater commander now has available a more
potent strategic arsenal.
F
.
RECOMMENDATIONS
Although
improvement
new
these
to
both
innovations
cruise missile
and
enable
significant
fixed wing
strike
aircraft capabilities, their implementation is subject to the
ongoing budget battle.
In the wake of the Soviet collapse,
Congress is less willing to fund costly programs to improve
weapon systems which they view as "good enough" and which many
lawmakers view as sufficient to handle future threats.
81
Roy Balaconis,
"World Wide
Commander USN,
Conference Brief, August 1991, Washington D.C.
"
80
The
Crisis
current price of 1.3 million per missile is in excess of the
targeted price of 0.8 million per missile.
Unless massive
quantities of the upgraded missile are produced, the projected
costs will rise significantly.
According to RADM Wagner, the
PEO for Cruise Missile Project and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,
the total R&D and procurement costs for the new improvements
from 1.0
range
to. 2.3
million dollars. 82
billion dollars,
plus
or
minus
50
Although the new cruise missile offers
the opportunity to engage the enemy without any risk to U.S.
pilots,
lawmakers may view the price of the upgrades as too
high.
Precision guided munitions innovations enable one weapon
system to perform both sea control and power projection roles.
In the role of
sea control,
they enable the engagement
of
individual ships in heavy background shipping environments.
In
the
land
disadvantages
systems
attack
of
including
they
role
current
can
many
overcome
of
the
cruise missile/fixed wing weapon
relocatable
targets,
and
targets
require faster planning-to-shooter coordination.
which
Although the
cruise missile is not a system designed to replace fixed wing
strike assets, it can handle a wider variety of missions thus
enabling
fixed wing
assets
to
be
used
for
more
critical
82
The information is from the notes of a brief by G.F.A.
Wagner, RADM USN, PEO for Cruise Missiles Project and Unmanned
"Tomahawk Baseline IV,
Aerial Vehicles Joint Project,
obtained
from LCDR Sam Perez,
June,
1992,
Monterey,
California.
"
81
.
The combination
missions.
rapid,
the
of
two
systems
provides
a
lethal, response to regional conflicts.
The real
value of precision guided munitions
is
their
ability to bring a delicate situation under control quickly.
Moreover
the
mere
presence
of
a
battle
with
group
the
demonstrated accuracy of these assets could deter a potential
aggressor.
Along with fixed wing assets,
improved cruise
missiles could delay or deny forward enemy movements.
The
enhanced accuracy and flexibility makes it an ideal weapon to
neutralize
enemy
air
and
operations
suppress
enemy
air
defenses
Naval and all other air power assets can now be used to
attack strategic targets which were once reserved for nuclear
Although precision guided munitions are not suitable
weapons.
for
mass
striking
population
targets
critical
to
they
an
are
suitable
enemy's
for
military
Key production facilities, power production
infrastructure.
facilities,
destruction,
and most importantly,
leaders and key C3 assets
are all vulnerable to the new generation of weapons.
.
Whether or not Congress agrees that the new capabilities
are in fact necessary or whether "better is the enemy of good
enough"
is
yet
to be
One must
seen.
not
forget
advance in technology yields a permanent advantage;
will
eventually
develop
an
effective
that
no
someone
countermeasure.
Therefore, we must continue to develop and produce advanced
conventional weapons and the systems that support them.
82
.
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1
6.
N511, The Pentagon, Room 4D563
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Washington, D.C. 2 0350
1
7.
CAPT E.A. Smith, Jr., USN
Office of Naval Intelligence
Washington, D.C. 20350
1
8
Dr Thomas C Bruneau
Chairman, National Security Affairs
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93 943
9.
.
1
.
Dr. Patrick J.
(Code NS/Pr):
Parker
(NS/Bn)
1
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943
10.
Dr. Joseph Sternberg
(Code Ph)
1
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93 943
83
11.
LT Timothy M. Conroy
VFA-12 5
NAS Lemoore, CA 93246-5125
84
DUDLEY KNOX LIBRARY
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOl
MONTEREY CA 93943-5101
GAYLORD
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